The Blues will continue to boast one of the most dominant front rows in world rugby next year, with Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina both re-signing with the Blues and New Zealand Rugby.
The All Blacks’ most capped prop and Blues centurion, Woodcock has signed through to the end of 2015, while impressive tighthead Charlie Faumuina has recommitted to the franchise until 2016.
The props join hooker Keven Mealamu, the joint most capped Super Rugby player ever, in forming a vastly experienced all All Black front row for the Blues.
Blues head coach Sir John Kirwan was delighted to have their services next season.
“Both these guys have played really well for us this season,” Kirwan said.
“Woody’s back home, he’s happy and he’s really contributing to the franchise. Charlie has been special for us this year and so to have these guys re-sign is really important for the franchise,” he said.
“We’re trying to build something special here and these guys are integral to that, especially Woody who wants to leave a legacy. He’s won the competition before and he wants to do that again. Charlie has been outstanding for us this year and especially at the back end of the season he really played well.
“The things people don’t see is they really help the guys in behind them like Angus Ta’avao, Sam Prattley and Ofa Tu’ungafasi who are going to be great players in their own right so it’s important these two All Blacks re-sign and we keep building.”
The re-signing of Woodcock and Faumuina is a major boost for the All Blacks ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Fellow All Blacks Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Beauden Barrett, Dominic Bird, Tom Taylor and Matt Todd have also all re-signed with New Zealand Rugby.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s great news for the All Blacks, especially with a large number of talented, young players re-committing to the country. It bodes well for the future.”
The announcement is the latest in a number of key signings for New Zealand Rugby in recent times, with an ever-increasing list of players re-signing to New Zealand Rugby for the next few years.
All Blacks Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Cory Jane, Israel Dagg, Ben Smith and Samuel Whitelock have all signed with New Zealand Rugby through to 2017, the same year the British and Irish Lions will tour New Zealand.
As well, a number of current and recent All Blacks are also signed up, including hooker Dane Coles, lock Luke Romano and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams (all through to 2016); captain Richie McCaw and fellow loose forwards Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Steven Luatua and Luke Whitelock, hooker Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks and fellow props Wyatt Crockett and Ben Afeaki, locks Brodie Retallick and Jeremy Thrush, halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow, All Blacks Vice-Captain Daniel Carter and fellow first five-eighth Colin Slade, midfielders Ma’a Nonu and Francis Saili and outside backs Julian Savea and Charles Piutau (all signed to 2015).