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Blues re-sign outside back duo as 2022 squad announcement looms

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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The Blues have confirmed the re-signing of two key outside backs less than a week out from the announcement of its 2022 Super Rugby Pacific squad.

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The Super Rugby Trans-Tasman champions revealed on Tuesday that promising fullback Zarn Sullivan and veteran wing Bryce Heem have both inked contract extensions with the side.

Sullivan, the 21-year-old fullback who starred for the Blues en route to their drought-breaking title earlier this year, has signed on for a further three years in a deal that will keep him with the Auckland-based franchise until 2024.

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A former Blues and New Zealand U20 representative, Sullivan’s deft kicking skill set, combined with his hulking 1.93m and 100kg frame, established him as one of the brightest young talents in the country.

Despite the arrival of former NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and the presence of fellow youngster Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Sullivan is expected to retain the No 15 jersey for the Blues next season.

“Zarn took his chance really well,” Blues head coach Leon MacDonald said in a statement. “He has all the attributes to be an excellent fullback and a nous for the game far greater than his years.

“It is early days yet for Zarn but if he continues to work hard then he has a big future in the game.”

Heem, meanwhile, will remain onboard with the Blues for a further year after being called into the squad by MacDonald on the eve of Super Rugby Aotearoa on a short-term basis.

Joining the Blues from powerhouse French club Toulon, Heem proved to be an excellent find for the Blues as he featured nine times for the franchise and bagged a hat-trick against the Waratahs.

The 31-year-old is also capable of playing in the midfield, and, along with Sullivan, will provide the Blues with quality and depth as they eye back-to-back titles in the inaugural edition of Super Rugby Pacific.

“Bryce was a tremendous contributor with all of his experience as a successful professional in England and France,” MacDonald said.

“Bryce is a great professional and a great bloke. He not only earned his place in the starting team with some excellent form, but also became an important contributor both on the training field and off the grass, especially with our young backs.

“I am thrilled to have both Bryce and Zarn with us going forward.”

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The Blues, along with the other New Zealand franchises and Moana Pasifika, will announce its full squad for 2022 next Monday.

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