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All Black hooker becomes first player to commit to NZR for next World Cup cycle

By Kim Ekin
Samisoni Taukei'aho. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

Samisoni Taukei’aho has become the first All Black signed until the end of the next Rugby World Cup cycle.

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Having re-committed until 2027, the 21-Test hooker has also put pen to paper on a new contract that will see him remain with the Gallagher Chiefs in DHL Super Rugby Pacific and Waikato in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC.

“It’s a privilege to represent Waikato, the Chiefs and the All Blacks,” said Taukei’aho.

“So I am truly grateful to re-sign with NZR for four more years and have the opportunity to keep living my dream.”

In just two seasons for the All Blacks, the 25-year-old has already written himself into the history books.

In 2022 he equalled the most Test tries (7) scored by an All Blacks forward in a calendar year.

“We congratulate Samisoni on what he has achieved in the game so far,” NZR CEO Mark Robinson said. “We’ve seen him develop into a capable Test hooker and know he has a lot more to offer in the coming years.”

The former St Paul’s Collegiate student has made huge strides since moving to New Zealand from Tonga in 2013.

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He made his first-class debut for Waikato in 2016 and the following year saw him called in as injury cover by the Gallagher Chiefs, where he is now a fan favourite.

“We are ecstatic Samisoni has committed to being a long-term Chief,” said Gallagher Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan.

“He is extremely proud of this region and all it represents, and no doubt our loyal support base will be pleased to hear of this signing. The sacrifices and dedication Samisoni has made over the years have seen him develop into a world-class player. He still has significant growth in him and it’s going to be exciting to see where he can get to in the years ahead.”

In 2016 Taukei’aho debuted for Waikato in a successful Ranfurly Shield defence against Thames Valley. Since then he has amassed 44 appearances with 20 tries to his name.

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“Waikato Rugby couldn’t be more thrilled to have Samisoni Taukei’aho re-sign with the province,” said Waikato Rugby CEO Carl Moon. “His talent, work ethic and leadership, on and off the field, is crucial for the sport.

“He is another one of these hard-working players that continues to evolve his game and we are excited to see his continued success at all levels of the game.”

-Press Release/NZR

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Jon 43 minutes ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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