Cape Town - A quartet of key Hurricanes, including new All Blacks Ngani Laumape and Vaea Fifita, have re-committed to the Wellington-based outfit for 2018 and beyond.
Laumape and Fifita have joined midfielder Matt Proctor and lock Geoff Cridge in signing new deals with the reigning Super Rugby champions.
Laumape, who made his Test debut for New Zealand against the British & Irish Lions during the second test earlier this month, will remain with the Hurricanes and the Manawatu Turbos for at least two more seasons.
“Coming back to rugby union from rugby league in 2016 was a massive challenge, but the Hurricanes coaches have made the transition a lot easier and I’ve loved every minute,” he said.
“The Hurricanes environment has really helped me develop my game and I can’t wait to continue that progress over the next two seasons.”
Fifita, who made his All Blacks debut off the bench against Samoa in Albany last month, echoed his team-mate’s sentiments after extending his Hurricanes and Wellington Rugby contracts through to the end of the 2020 season.
“I’ve learned so much since joining the Hurricanes in 2015 and I feel very lucky to have been part of the club over the past three years," he said.
“Representing the All Blacks was a dream come true and I’m thankful to the Hurricanes coaching staff for helping me realise my potential. I know I still have a long way to go and the Hurricanes is the right place for me to continue my career.”
Proctor, who has played 43 matches for the Hurricanes since his debut in 2013, has recommitted to the Hurricanes and Wellington Rugby for another two years.
The 25-year-old said he couldn’t imagine himself playing for another New Zealand Super Rugby club.
“The last five years have been an awesome experience and I have taken a lot of pride in representing the Hurricanes," explained Proctor.
"I believe we’ve built something special during the time I’ve been here and I’m really looking forward to the next two years.”
Cridge, a 22-year-old, two metre tall lock out of Hawke’s Bay, said he was grateful to the Hurricanes coaching staff for showing faith in him after an injury interrupted 2017 has seen him unable to add to his single Super Rugby appearance.
“It’s been tough not being able to contribute on the field, but I I’ve learnt a lot from being in the Hurricanes environment and I can't wait to make an impact in 2018,” he said.
Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said he was looking forward to watching all four players continue to develop in coming seasons.
“We are very lucky to have some great talent at the club right now in a lot of different positions and to be able to lock players of the calibre of Ngani, Vaea, Matt and Geoff in for next year and beyond is great," said Boyd.
“All of these guys are in their early to mid-20s and that allows us to move forward with some real confidence as we look to build on the club’s recent success.”