20 Apr 2011

Mealamu re-signs with NZRU

9:09 am on 20 April 2011

The All Blacks, Blues and Auckland hooker Keven Mealamu has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues franchise through until 2013.

The signing of the fourth-most capped All Black of all time is a boost for New Zealand rugby with a number of key players now committed to New Zealand rugby beyond the 2011 World Cup.

The 32-year-old says loyalty played a major part in his decision and he's delighted to be staying in New Zealand and Auckland.

The All Blacks Coach Graham Henry says Mealamu is a crucial part of the All Blacks team and their leadership group as well as being a "very special man".

The Blues CEO Andy Dalton say Mealamu is one of the finest players to have worn the Auckland and Blues jerseys.

Mealamu made his All Blacks debut in 2002 and has been in the national side ever since.

He has played 83 Tests in the famous black jersey and sits behind current team-mates Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina (94) and former hooker and captain Sean Fitzpatrick (92) on the all-time Test list.

Other 2010 All Blacks who have re-committed to New Zealand rugby beyond this year include hooker Hikawera Elliot, props Tony Woodcock and Ben Franks, locks Anthony Boric, Tom Donnelly and Sam Whitelock, loose forwards Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read, Daniel Braid, Liam Messam and Victor Vito, and backs Jimmy Cowan, Conrad Smith, Israel Dagg and Aaron Cruden.