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Hurricanes re-sign pair of locks to extensions

By Ben Smith
Caleb Delany of the Hurricanes mixes with fans following during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Chiefs at Sky Stadium, on April 13, 2024, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have re-signed locks Isaia Walker-Leawere and Caleb Delany on long-term deals.

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Walker-Leawere has inked a two-year extension until the end of 2026 while Delany will remain at the club until 2027.

The signings boost the forward depth for the next few seasons, an area of strength for the squad after a dominant pack in 2024.

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Walker-Leawere has been with the club since his debut in 2018 and has reached 60 caps over his six seasons.

“I’m proud to be signing to be a Hurricane through to 2026,” said Walker-Leawere.

“The Hurricanes has been my home for the past six seasons, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue playing for the club I call home.”

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24-year-old Delany has come through the Wellington system into the Hurricanes squad, moving to the capital to join the Lions.

The hard-working lock has been one of the unheralded players of the season becoming one of the top lineout options.

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“I’m very happy,” said Delany, “I love this team, love the club, love where it’s going, and the culture.”

“I’m grateful for the time the Hurricanes have invested in me and gaining all this experience at a young age has been awesome. I’m keen to keep tracking here with the club and see where it all takes me in the future.”

Hurricanes head coach Clark Laidlaw was delighted with the deals, locking in two key players with the Hurricanes for the next few seasons.

“I’m delighted,” said Laidlaw.

“They’re two quality players who we think have a big future in the team and they’re going to get better. Having an ability to continue to improve is a big part of why we extend players and they’re two players who are excited about getting better and being here long-term.

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“While they’ve got a fair bit of experience, their best rugby is still ahead of them. They’re the main stay of the locks in the forward pack so it’s amazing to have them onboard.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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