Young locks locked-down until 2019

Young locks locked-down until 2019

Two young locks will jump to new heights in the Mitre-10 Cup competition that kicks off this week after signing extended Super Rugby contracts with the Blues.

Auckland’s Scott Scrafton and North Harbour’s Gerard Cowley-Tuioti have signed with the Blues until 2019, after both enjoyed outstanding performances in Super Rugby this year.

Cowley-Tuioti, 25, played in all 16 games for the Blues this year including the win over the British and Irish Lions with the 1.96m lock starting in 13 of his 16 games.

Scrafton, 24, took until round eight to get his first start but was a regular in their final nine games of the season, with the 2m lock proving outstanding at lineout and his general play.

“These players were arguably our most improved young players this season,” said Blues head coach Tana Umaga. “They forced their way into the starting line-up on merit ahead of more experienced players and they produced for us game-in, game-out.

“They did their core roles well at set piece but also showed up strongly around the field and in defence and their attitudes were excellent. We see both of these young guys taking real leadership roles in the Blues going forward.”

They join All Black Patrick Tuipulotu in the Blues middle row through to the end of the 2019 season.

This news comes after the recent signing of former NZ U20s captain Leni Apisai from the Hurricanes, as well as talented young playmakers Otere Black and Bryn Gatland.