All Blacks and Highlanders star Shannon Frizell has put pen to paper to lock in a two-year contract extension with the Highlanders in a deal that will see him through to 2023.
The 27-year-old becomes the latest All Black to re-sign to or beyond 2023 as a growing list of capped Kiwi internationals begin to eye up a tilt for the World Cup in France in two years’ time.
Frizell’s recommitment to NZR is also a big win for the Highlanders, who have reaped the rewards of signing the Tongan-born loose forward back in 2018.
Since then, the 13-test international has been a standout for the Dunedin-based franchise as he has appeared 44 times for the southerners.
The former Tonga U20 representative turned heads in his maiden Super Rugby campaign by scoring a hat-trick of tries against the Blues at Eden Park in a match that effectively sealed his place as a bolter selection in that year’s All Blacks squad.
Frizell made his test debut against France in Dunedin in June 2018, and went on to feature for the All Blacks at the 2019 World Cup in Japan as an injury replacement for Luke Jacobson.
Last year, he started in four of New Zealand’s six tests to accentuate is standing in the national pecking order at blindside flanker.
Given his standout Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign thus far this season, it’s likely the Tasman representative will be there or thereabouts for starting honours with the All Blacks later on this year.
“Shannon has been a standout player for us since his first game for the club,” Highlanders head coach Tony Brown said.
“His work rate and the physical commitment he offers on attack and defence are world class, his consistent form this year has him right up there as the best in the country at blindside.
“We are of course delighted that Shannon has decided to stay with us for the next few seasons to help us reach our goals, he holds a lot of mana amongst the team and his commitment to the club is good for our future.”
Frizell added: “I have enjoyed my time here, I like Dunedin and the culture of the team, it seems to get the best out of me. I want the Highlanders to do well, if I can help the team by playing well, then I’m happy.”
Frizell become the latest high-profile Highlander to re-commit to the franchise in recent times, as the likes of Aaron Smith, Folau Fakatava and Pari Pari Parkinson have all extended their stays in Dunedin beyond this year.
Last year’s All Blacks contracted to NZR until this year and beyond
Contracted until 2021: Codie Taylor, Dane Coles, 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, 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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