Blacks to the future

75 players have committed to completing their careers in New Zealand until after next year’s World Cup in France.

Amongst those players are Greg Sommerville, Jerry Collins, Luke McAlister and South African-born Greg Rawlinson, a New Zealand Rugby Union statement said.

“By recommitting to New Zealand, many of our players believe they still have a lot to offer New Zealand rugby and enjoy the game and lifestyle here,” NZRU deputy chief executive Steve Tew said.

“That is 22 more than we re-signed last year and is a fantastic result. It’s worth noting that we have also retained a large number of experienced players, which is very important for New Zealand rugby,” he added.

Half of the 2006 contracted All Blacks have resigned and will end their careers in New Zealand while 14 were confirmed to be leaving to play overseas.

There is an expectation of a mass exodus of senior Springboks overseas after the World Cup, which is bound to have a detrimental effect on the standard of play in the Vodacom Super 14 and the domestic showpiece competition, the Absa Currie Cup.

Experienced heads are vital to the development of the younger players in any side and by contracting this group of players the NZRU are obviously acutely aware of that.