Another leading All Black is committing long term to New Zealand Rugby (NZR) – with halfback TJ Perenara re-signing with New Zealand Rugby through until 2021.
The 25-year-old’s new four-year contract with NZR will also keep him in Wellington and Hurricanes colours until at least the end of the 2021 season.
The signing is further great news for NZR and follows last week’s announcement that All Blacks loose forward Sam Cane had also inked a four-year deal.
“The All Blacks will always be the goal and to be able to chase that dream for another four years here in New Zealand is a challenge I’m looking forward to,” Perenara said.
“Being in Wellington and playing for the Hurricanes is a big driver for me. It’s where I grew up, it’s my home and it’s where my family is. Family means a lot and being able to be close to them and be around them is important.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “TJ is a world-class player and a very important part of our team. He’s an incredibly competitive athlete who has taken his game to another level in recent seasons and he has a great understanding of what it means to be a Test player with close to 40 Tests under his belt.
“He plays a key role for us both on and off the park and is continuing to look to develop his all-round skills, including his leadership skills, and in fact, has now become one of the senior players in the squad. We all congratulate him on his decision which is fantastic for the future.”
Hurricanes Assistant Coach Jason Holland said Perenara was a massive part of the club’s present and future plans.
“TJ is a big part of our team culture on and off the field. His play over the past two years has been top drawer and a big driver of the club’s success. He’s an integral part of game. He’s a multiple threat with the ball in and a major driver of our defence.”
Wellington Rugby Union Chief Executive Steve Rogers said Perenara’s loyalty to the union was a reflection of his character on and off the field.
“TJ was born and bred in Wellington and came through Mana College and the Northern United club to the Lions. He made his debut for as an 18 year old back in 2010 and has remained a strong presence within our union throughout his playing career. We are thrilled he will be around for another four years.” Perenara has played 39 Tests and scored eight tries since making his Test debut in 2014 against England. He made his Hurricanes debut in 2012 and has played 96 matches for the club, scoring 44 tries. He captained the side 12 times during the 2017 season. Perenara made his provincial debut for Wellington in 2010 and has represented the Lions 14 times.
The All Blacks are building a core of key players for the future with Perenara joining Cane and hooker Codie Taylor in signing through to 2021, while Samuel Whitelock, Ben Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown are committed through to 2020. All Blacks Captain Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams, Joe Moody, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Nathan Harris, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Squire, Liam Coltman and Ngani Laumape have all inked deals through to 2019.