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Coltman re-commits to NZ Rugby

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New Zealand Rugby re-sign All Blacks hooker on three-year deal

All Blacks and Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman has re-committed to New Zealand Rugby on a three-year deal through to 2022.

Coltman has made 92 Super Rugby appearances for the Highlanders since his debut in 2013, and has been capped four times by the All Blacks after debuting against Italy three years later.

His capture by NZR is a victory against the growing exodus of players heading offshore, which includes Highlanders teammates Ben Smith (Pau), Waisake Naholo (London Irish), Liam Squire (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Luke Whitelock (Pau) and Jackson Hemopo (Mitsubishi Dynaboars).

Other high-profile All Blacks heading overseas at the end of the year include Kieran Read (Toyota Verblitz), Owen Franks (Northampton), Ryan Crotty (Kubota Spears), Nehe Milner-Skudder (Toulon), Jordan Taufua (Leicester Tigers), Matt Proctor (Northampton) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Wasps).

Coltman becomes the third hooker within the All Blacks set-up to sign on after this year’s World Cup in Japan, with Dane Coles and Codie Taylor both staying in New Zealand until at least 2021.

“It’s good to have the next few years sorted out,” the 29-year-old said.

“I have enjoyed my time in Dunedin and I love the lifestyle down here and the easy access to the outdoor pursuits I enjoy. My family and I are grateful to New Zealand Rugby and to the Highlanders for the opportunity to continue our commitment to Otago and the Highlanders.”

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said: “It’s fantastic to get another All Black to commit to the Highlanders over the next few years. We appreciate all players have choices these days and to have Liam choose the Highlanders is exciting.”

All Blacks and Highlanders head coaches Steve Hansen and Aaron Mauger also paid tribute to Coltman upon the announcement of his contract renewal.

“Liam is a humble and quietly-spoken person who has a fantastic work ethic and is a model professional,” Mauger said.

“He never gives less than his best and his consistency of performance is due in large part to his meticulous preparation and uncompromising approach. I am certainly glad for Liam and his family that his future for the next few years at least is with the Highlanders.”

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen reciprocated those views, saying: “Colty is the ultimate team man and has been patient in our environment and made the most of his opportunities.

“He puts in a lot of hard work around the team and is always looking to improve as a footy player.  We’re glad he’ll be doing that in New Zealand for the next few years.”

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New Zealand Rugby re-sign All Blacks hooker on three-year deal