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Chiefs extend All Black lock Tupou Vaa'i long term

By Sam Smith
Tupou Vaa'i. (Photo by John Cowpland/Photosport)

The Chiefs Rugby Club is pleased to announce the extension of Tupou Vaa’i’s contract with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby until 2025.

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Vaa’i is a talented lock that has made a rapid rise through the rugby ranks since his provincial debut for Taranaki at just 18 years old. Two years later he went on to debut for both the Gallagher Chiefs and All Blacks at only 20 years old and has solidified his place in both teams, notching up 31 and 15 caps, respectively.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan says it is fantastic to have Tupou remaining with the team.

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“He has always been a player of immense talent, and his achievements to date at such a young age validate that. He is only going to get better with age and experience which is an exciting prospect.

“There’s no doubt he is going to be a significant contributor to the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby in the years ahead.”

In his early career, Vaa’i was Head Prefect and first XV Captain during his time at Wesley College. Later, he was selected for the New Zealand under-20s, making six appearances for the side, including at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championships.

Speaking on his extension with the Gallagher Chiefs Vaa’i said, “I’m truly humbled and grateful to continue my journey with this team. I believe we’ve got a good crew, so I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together moving forward. Plus, FMG Stadium Waikato is one of the best rugby grounds around filled with loyal supporters.”

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All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said of Vaa’i’s extension, “Tupou has really impressed in his time with the All Blacks, and we see his signing as critical in our long-term plans. Great news.”

Vaa’i has put in strong performances for the All Blacks this season in the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championships which has seen him named in the squad for the Northern Tour.

The squad will travel to Japan for the Lipovitan-D Rugby Challenge Cup and then to Wales, Scotland, and England for the Healthspan Elite Northern Tour.

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