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Another All Black re-signs for 2023 World Cup

By Ned Lester
Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Blues and All Blacks tighthead prop Nepo Laulala has signed on the dotted line with New Zealand Rugby for the 2023 season.

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The move confirms Laulala’s intent to be a part of the All Blacks roster for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Exactly where Laulala sits in the All Black tighthead pecking order is a question that The Rugby Championship left unanswered.

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Laulala missed all but the final test of the tournament due to injury after starting in game one of the Ireland series in July.

In his absence, young props Tyrel Lomax and Fletcher Newell have found strong international form and will make competition for playing time fierce should all three make the Northern tour squad, set to be announced Sunday.

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The 30 year old Laulala has 42 tests under his belt as an All Black and is just one game away from bringing up 100 Super Rugby caps, having played for the Crusaders, Chiefs and Blues.

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Laulala started in the All Blacks semi-final loss to England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“Nepo’s been an important part of our squad since he returned home to the Auckland region with his family last year and he’s an invaluable part of our tight-five group,” Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.

“He’s a quiet family man with strong values but is also a strong contributor to our team discussions – we are pleased to have him back with us for 2023.”

New Zealand Rugby general Manager Professional Rugby and Performance Chris Lendrum also expressed excitement about Laulala’s decision.

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“Nepo’s built up a wealth of experience in a key position, including 42 Tests for the All Blacks while continuing to perform at a high level in the Bunnings NPC and in Super Rugby Pacific, something he has done consistently for the past decade.

“He’s played a key role for the Blues over the past two seasons and I’m sure he will continue to do so in 2023.”

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