Both Super Rugby Pacific finalists re-sign All Blacks
The Chiefs announced on Friday new contracts for halfbacks Cortez Ratima and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi. Xavier Roe completes the team’s halfback rotation and helps fill the void left by influential leader Brad Weber, who will join the Top 14.
Tahuriorangi was a three-time All Black in 2018 and rejoined the Chiefs in 2023 after a couple of seasons bouncing around various Super Rugby franchises.
Ratima is one of the most exciting and promising halfback talents in the country, with Super Rugby-leading accuracy in his pass making him an elite finisher for the Waikato side in 2023, contributing to the damaging bench unit coach Clayton McMillan deployed and often secured comes with.
An All Blacks XV selection in 2022 saw the 22-year-old’s debut on the international stage off the bench against the Barbarians.
“Cortez has been an exciting player to watch and his skill set has gone from strength to strength with consistent game time this season,” McMillan said. “He is still a relatively young player and we look forward to seeing how he continues to grow and develop his game.”
An ACL rupture in round six of Super Rugby Pacific sidelined Bower for the season and ended the 22-Test All Black’s World Cup hopes.
“I’m so excited to be staying on with the Crusaders for another two seasons,” Bower said.
“This team means a lot to me. It’s a team that’s provided me with so much opportunity. The culture, the place and most importantly the people – these are the reasons I love this team and why I want to continue to play my rugby here.
“My recovery and rehab is coming along well and it’s given me time to focus on myself, which has been great.”
Bower’s new contract leaves incoming coach Rob Penney with the luxury of four All Black props at his disposal, with veteran Joe Moody remaining with the squad as well as youngsters Fletcher Newell and Tamaiti Williams, who are currently in France preparing for the Rugby World Cup.
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