Rugby: Five All Blacks extend NZRU contracts

Five All Blacks have extended their New Zealand Rugby Union contracts, it was announced today.

Josevata Rokocoko, Conrad Smith and Anthony Tuitavake have re-signed until the end of 2010, while John Afoa and Ma'a Nonu have committed through to 2011.

NZRU general manager professional rugby Neil Sorensen said the signings were great news for New Zealand rugby.

"To have this group of experienced and talented guys in their prime and wanting to contribute further to New Zealand rugby is fantastic," he said.

Afoa, 24, made his All Blacks test debut at prop in 2005 and has played nine tests, including six so far in 2008. He has donned the Auckland jersey 60 times since 2002 and has also played 60 matches for the Blues.

Nonu, 26, has scored eight tries in his 28 All Blacks tests after making his debut in 2003. The midfielder has also been capped more than 70 times for the Hurricanes and played his 58th game for Wellington last weekend.

Rokocoko has played 48 tests for the All Blacks in a career that has so far spanned five years. The 25-year-old winger made his debut a week after his 20th birthday alongside Nonu in 2003, and has scored 43 tries in the black jersey.

Rokocoko has also played 60 games for the Blues and 20 games for Auckland.

Smith has played 21 tests in the All Blacks midfield since making his debut against Italy in 2004. The 26-year-old has also played 35 games for his Hurricanes franchise and more than 30 games for Wellington.

Anthony Tuitavake made his All Blacks debut against Ireland this year and has played five tests. He is the most-capped player in his North Harbour provincial side, with 76 caps since 2001, and also has played 41 Rebel Sport Super 14 matches for the Blues and Highlanders.

- NZPA

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