All Blacks and Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles has re-committed to New Zealand Rugby and the Hurricanes, inking a deal through to 2023.
The announcement comes more than two months after Coles hinted this year may be his final season of professional rugby by saying that winning the Super Rugby Aotearoa title with the Hurricanes “would be the ultimate send off”.
However, that notion has been put to bed as the 34-year-old has inked a two-year contract extension that will see him through to the 2023 World Cup in France.
“I’m so grateful to be playing the game I love, and grateful for the opportunity to continue with the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby,” the 74-test All Black said in a statement.
“The Hurricanes have been loyal to me, I’m a ‘one club’ man, so to continue my career with them will be awesome.
“I’m also looking forward to giving myself a chance to again play for the All Blacks. It’s a huge honour to play for that team and I never take my opportunities in the black jersey for granted.”
Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland added: “Colesy is massive for our group both on and off the field and has been for many years. His passion for the Hurricanes is second to none and we learn from him every day.
“His form this season has been top notch and he’s been looking sharp throughout Super Rugby Aotearoa.”
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said: “It’s fantastic news to have Colesy recommit to New Zealand. He’s such an influential player in our team.
“He’s a world-class player, an inspiration to his teammates and we love his straightforward honesty. On behalf of the All Blacks, we want to congratulate him and wife Sarah on his decision.”
Hurricanes CEO Avan Lee added: “This is such outstanding news for the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby. Colesy is an inspirational leader and adds so much value to our game. We’re delighted to have him continue for the Hurricanes for the next two years.”
Despite the Hurricanes’ last-place ranking in Super Rugby Aotearoa, Coles has been in inspired form for the Wellington-based franchise this year as he looks to retain the All Blacks’ No 2 jersey ahead of the likes of Codie Taylor and Asafo Aumua.
Coles becomes the fourth player to re-commit to the Hurricanes within the past week after lock Scott Scrafton, loose forward Reed Prinsep and former All Blacks wing Julian Savea all announced contract extensions last Friday.
The Hurricanes are coming off a bye week and will travel to Hamilton to take on the high-flying Chiefs on Friday.
Last year’s All Blacks contracted to NZR until this year and beyond
Contracted until 2021: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Sam Cane, Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane, TJ Perenara, Brad Weber, Ngani Laumape, Damian McKenzie.
Contracted until 2022: Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala Dalton Papalii, Hoskins Sotutu, Richie Mo’unga, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Sevu Reece, Rieko Ioane, George Bridge, Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Jordie Barrett.
Contracted until 2023: Asafo Aumua, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tupou Vaa’i, Cullen Grace, Shannon Frizell, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown.
Contracted until 2024: Ofa Tuungafasi.
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