The in-form Blues number eight Hoskins Sotutu has extended his contract with the Super Rugby franchise.
The 21-year-old will stay with the Blues until at least 2022 after adding two years to his initial deal.
Sotutu, who qualified to play internationally for New Zealand, Fiji and England, had been a standout performer so far in 2020 for the resurgent Auckland-based side.
After three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa he led the competition in offloads and tackles and was fourth in metres carried.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald said Sotutu had been impressive.
“He has a unique skillset which is well-rounded. He has set-up tries with his kicking and with accurate missed passes yet he can do the core roles of carrying hard, offloading, making his tackles and an asset in the lineout.
“Hoskins got his chance with the work he did pre-season and has continued to deliver game-in, game-out, and he is developing from a very quiet teenager to a real contributor off the field also.
“He has come out of the Blues and Auckland systems and if he continues to develop with the same attitude, he can look forward to a long and successful career with us.”
MacDonald said Sotutu had initially indicated his desire to re-sign earlier but the Covid-19 lockdown had stalled the formalities.
Sotutu played several sports as a young teenager before taking the advice of his father, former Fiji, Blues and Auckland back Waisake, to “give rugby a good shot” when he was 17.
He began his rugby life as a winger, like his father, moving to lock, and even first-five for club in his first year out of school, before settling at No 8.
“My goals are for the Blues to kick-on in this competition how we left off before Covid-19, keep the team strong and help them continue to improve,” Sotutu said.
“It is all about the team for me. I don’t like to look too far ahead. I like to focus on the team I am playing for.”
The Blues expected to finalise other contract extensions before the end of the competition.
SOURCE – RADIO NEW ZEALAND