Headlining the septuple of re-signings is star rookie Tom Robinson, who has signed on with the club until 2021 after captivating many onlookers with his standout performances at blindside flanker so far this season.
Calls for him to earn selection as a bolter to New Zealand’s World Cup squad later this year appear to have fallen on deaf ears as he wasn’t included in the All Blacks’ 41-man ‘foundation day’ squad to be held in Auckland next Monday, but there remains more than half a Super Rugby campaign for Robinson to state his case to selectors.
Franchise stalwart and former captain James Parsons has also signed on until at least the 2021 season, as has promising midfielder TJ Faiane, young prop Sione Mafileo, and first-five duo Otere Black and Stephen Perofeta.
20-year-old wing Caleb Clarke, who starred at last year’s Brisbane 10s tournament and is the son of ex-All Black Eroni, has also committed himself to the side until 2022.
“This is a core group of key players,” said Blues high performance manager Tony Hanks.
“Five of them are born and bred in our region and have come through our system. They have been committed to the Blues since they were age-group players.
“The commitment of this core group, along with the recent extensions of Patrick Tuipulotu and Dalton Papali’i, is a significant statement to the commitment, motivation and ambition of our current group.”
The Blues are enjoying one of their most successful season in recent times, currently lying in 5th place as they chase their first play-offs appearance since 2011.
Sitting on four consecutive wins over the Sunwolves, Highlanders, Stormers and Waratahs, the Leon MacDonald-coached side will face the resurgent Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday as the look to push for a top four spot.
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