Blues and North Harbour hooker James Parsons has committed to play his rugby in New Zealand until 2017.
The 28-year-old, who made his All Black debut as a replacement on the 2014 end-of-year tour, has announced he has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby, the Blues and his North Harbour province for a further two years.
Parsons, who can reach his 50th Super Rugby cap this season, said that recommitting to New Zealand Rugby was always his major focus.
“I’ve had a taste of wearing the black jersey and I want to do everything in my power to wear it again,” he told the Blues' official website.
“This has been a tough Super Rugby season but I have plenty of unfinished business, and am determined to be a part of a successful Blues team in the future. I am also a proud Harbour man and am excited to play for the Union going forward.”
Blues coach Sir John Kirwan said the news was an important one for the Blues.
“There are a core of experienced leaders remaining with the club for the next two to three years who will lay the foundation for success,” said Kirwan.
“James is a key figure in this. He has grown considerably both on and off the field and showed last year that he has the capacity to play the game at the highest level.”
North Harbour are delighted that they will have Parsons to lead their ITM Cup team for two more years at least.
“James is a fantastic player both with his on-field presence as a world class player and off it as a leader,” said North Harbour Rugby Union ITM Cup head coach Steve Jackson.
“North Harbour has some outstanding young players in our ITM Cup squad, and James’ leadership will be pivotal in their development as players and as people. We are delighted he will be with us for two more years.”
Parsons, born in Palmerston North, was educated in Auckland, making his ITM Cup debut in 2007 for North Harbour, where he has earned more than 70 caps and captained the team from 2011-2013.
He spent time away from rugby gaining his degree in marketing and finance, gaining his Super Rugby debut in 2012 and on Saturday will play his 49th game for the Blues and third as captain. He played for the Barbarians at Twickenham late last year, and was called into the All Blacks to replace Nathan Harris, starting against Scotland.
Parsons has returned this year bigger and fitter, playing in every game, except his mandatory two games All Black rest.