Planet Rugby

Blues star trio re-sign

25th April 2013 07:17

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Blues flanker Steven Luatua on a run

New deal: Steven Luatua

The Blues have been handed a boost ahead of their Super Rugby clash with the Reds after Steven Luatua, Francis Saili and Charles Piutau all re-signed.

The former New Zealand U20 young stars and home grown players all extended their current contracts with the Eden Park side by an extra year.

21-year-old blindside flank Luatua has been in scintillating form so far this season and said the decision to extend his contract was an easy one.

"This is who I want to play for and it's great to have some familiar faces alongside me extending their contracts with the Blues too," Luatua said.

"This is home for me and I can't see myself playing for anyone else. It's pretty special what we're trying to build here and I really want to be a part of that in the future.

"I'm thrilled the franchise has confidence in me and I'm just looking forward to getting down to work and playing some good rugby for the Blues."

Blues high performance manager Nick Sheppard said it was incredibly pleasing to see players from the local region coming through the ranks and recommitting to the franchise.

"We're delighted to see these guys continuing to commit to the Blues until post Rugby World Cup 2015," Sheppard said.

"What is most satisfying is the fact that they've all come through our development programme over the last four years and are now really starting to deliver on their exciting promise.

"We've been working with and developing these players since 2008-9 and we see them as real future stalwarts and major factors to the success of the team moving forward."

Sheppard said these three players were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to local talent coming through, and that the Blues would continue to invest heavily in talent identification and development.

"These three players are a testament to the hard work the Blues and our Provincial Unions have been doing in talent identification and development - you've only got to look at the next tier of players coming through such as Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Bryn Hall, Joe Edwards and Pita Ahki to see there is a strong system at work," he added.

"This has been a major focus for the Blues franchise and our three Provincial Unions over the last four or five years. We're delighted to see some of the fruits of our labour and we need to continue to focus very heavily in this space. We can't take our foot off the throttle and we can't take anything for granted if we want to be a world class sporting organisation."

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