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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