Damian McKenzie commits future to New Zealand Rugby, signs on until 2021

All Blacks and Chiefs first-five Damian McKenzie has put pen to paper on a new deal with New Zealand Rugby, and will remain on home soil until 2021.

First appearing for the Chiefs in 2015, McKenzie, 22, has gone on to shine for the Waikato Super Rugby side, this season moving from fullback to first-five following the departure of Aaron Cruden to Europe.

The versatile young livewire made his All Blacks debut in 2016, however didn't become a regular until last season, taking over at fullback in the absence of Ben Smith and Jordie Barrett, scoring five tries from his 12 Test matches.

Lima Sopoaga's departure leaves a free spot in the All Blacks this year. Source: 1 NEWS

In a statement, McKenzie spoke of his joy at remaining in New Zealand, and with the Chiefs.

"It's a really exciting opportunity to have signed on for three more years," he said.

"My time in the Chiefs jersey has been awesome to date and the support I've been given during my time in Chiefs country has been amazing.

The All Blacks utility back has been named at fullback to face France in Paris on Sunday. Source: 1 NEWS

"I've had an awesome opportunity to be able to sign on with New Zealand Rugby and hopefully keep achieving higher honours in the future."

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper welcomed McKenzie's signing, praising the youngster in a statement.

"I'm really excited that Damian has re-signed with the club for the next three years."
"He's a great player with great character and brings a lot of confidence and stability to the team. The contract extension shows Damian's long-term commitment to the Chiefs and I'm thrilled to be working with him."

With Aaron Cruden leaving the Chiefs, McKenzie will move from fullback to number 10. Source: 1 NEWS



'Mum and dad will be stoked' - Ioane brothers thrilled to re-sign with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has hailed the influence of older brother Akira, as the pair today recommitted to New Zealand Rugby for another four years.

Rieko, 21, and Akira, 23, both put pen to paper on new deals, deciding to remain within New Zealand for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to media at Auckland Airport, Rieko spoke about the pair's decisions to stay at home in New Zealand.

"We've been lucky enough to play together for so long," he said.

"I'm pretty happy that both Aki and I are staying around home for a bit longer.

"I'm sure mum and dad will be stoked as well."

Both Rieko and Akira Ioane have penned new deals to stay in NZ. Source: 1 NEWS


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'He's only just beginning' – Steve Hansen gushes over Rieko Ioane's new deal

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says that there's more to come from star winger Rieko Ioane, as the youngster put pen to paper on a new deal with New Zealand Rugby.

Since making his debut at the end of 2016, Ioane, 21, has been a standout for the All Blacks, displacing Julian Savea as the first-choice in the number 11 jersey.

Speaking to media ahead of his side's departure to Argentina, Hansen spoke of his delight at Ioane's commitment to the All Blacks.

"He's a special player and he's only at the beginning of his career," Hansen began.

"What he's done so far, with maturity and greater game understanding is just going to get better and better.

"He's only just beginning."

The winger has recommitted to New Zealand Rugby for another four years. Source: 1 NEWS


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Rieko Ioane on rejecting huge overseas deals to stay in NZ: 'The Black jersey is enough for me'

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has spoken about rejecting lucrative overseas deals to remain in New Zealand, recommitting to NZR with a new four-year deal.

Ioane, 21, and brother Akira signed on the dotted line to remain in New Zealand for the next four years, fronting media at Auckland Airport to explain his decision.

"I want to establish myself in New Zealand," he began.

"The black jersey is enough for me, and is enough to keep me here.

"Rugby is what I love playing, and to play in the best team in the world is motivating enough for me, overseas didn't come into the picture."

The All Blacks star penned a new four-year NZR deal this morning. Source: 1 NEWS


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Kieran Read out, Vaea Fifita recalled for All Blacks' trip to Argentina

All Blacks captain Kieran Read will miss his side's Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Buenos Aires, with Wellington flanker Vaea Fifita called in as a replacement.

Read, 32, will be sent straight to South Africa, missing the All Blacks' Argentinian leg of their Rugby Championship campaign, coach Steve Hansen confirmed to media at Auckland Airport today.

"The original plan was always to make sure we don't have him sitting in a plane too long," Hansen began.

"When you go to Argentina then to South Africa, short turnaround, and not a great ride from Argentina to South Africa.

"The smart play is to leave him at home and send him straight to Africa."

Read's absence sees Vaea Fifita return to the side, having originally been overlooked for the All Blacks' Rugby Championship campaign, with the Wellington flanker controversially stating that he didn't understand why he'd been dropped.

"He's always been on our mind," Hansen said of Fifita.

"We've given him the task of going and playing some Mitre 10 Cup, he's done that.

"With Reado not coming we need a replacement, he's the obvious man."

The All Blacks' newest weapon sat out of practice with a sore shoulder today. Source: 1 NEWS


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