Mealamu to stay with All Blacks until 2013 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mealamu to stay with All Blacks until 2013

By Rachel Pinder 19/04/2011 02:23:04 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks coach Graham Henry is delighted that Blues hooker Keven Mealamu has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) through until 2013.

"It's a very significant signing. Keven is a world-class player," Henry said.

"He's a leader in the All Blacks and is highly respected by his peers.

"He is a marvellous rugby player who is a great role model for the game, and a great role model for other rugby players and young people in this country.

"We need these sorts of people playing the game. We're blessed here. There's a lot of other men like him who make up the All Blacks which I'm very proud about.

"I'm delighted that he's staying because he epitomises everything that's great about the All Blacks."

The 32-year-old rake said the decision to stay in New Zealand came down to the loyalty he felt towards the NZRU.

"Loyalty is something I believe in and I have always hoped I could repay the support I have been given by showing my continued loyalty to New Zealand," Mealamu said on Tuesday.

"This is a decision that me and my family have made after a long and hard thought-out process. But I'm very happy to stay here and contribute to New Zealand rugby."

Blues coach Pat Lam said it was a tremendous occasion.

"My admiration for Keven as the captain and the leader of this franchise is no secret," Lam said.

"Certainly I'm starting to see Keven's commitment and values improve over his past 100 games. The thing that stands out for me that he has the utmost respect from the players and the people around him.

"The work he does in the community is just as important as what he does on the field. It just reflects the type of person he is, and for Keven to stay here for a further two years is a tremendous boost to this franchise."

Mealamu has played 83 tests for the All Blacks and is the first Blues player to appear in 100 matches at Super level.

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