The Chiefs have announced the re-signing of All Blacks centre Charlie Ngatai, with the 25-year-old committing to the Hamilton outfit for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The announcement comes just days after the influential back was named in the 2016 All Blacks squad for the upcoming series against Wales.
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re very pleased to have secured a player of Charlie’s calibre for the next two years on the back of another impressive season from him.
“His skill-set is a real point of difference; he’s very quick, has great footwork and his distribution and kicking game at inside centre is exceptional.
“What’s been a real feature of his, is his ability to create space for himself and others. Charlie makes a massive contribution to the Chiefs as one of our leaders, he is a highly respected team-mate and a good bugger.”
Ngatai shared his reasons for re-signing with the two-time Super Rugby champions.
“The opportunity to play for the Chiefs and All Blacks was a massive driver for me in signing for a further two years,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Chiefs in particular the good coaching, culture and the great bunch of boys that are awesome to play alongside.
“Looking ahead I want to keep developing my game and performing well to hopefully win another Championship with the Chiefs and ultimately earn some time in the black jersey.”
Ngatai was destined for big things from an early age. The national age grade sprint champion and former Gisborne Boys High School 1st XV skipper made his first-class debut for Poverty Bay while still at school.
In 2009 at just 18-years of age, Ngatai debuted for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup going on to play 39 games for the side before heading north to join Taranaki in 2014.
A central figure in the Port Taranaki Bulls, Ngatai helped his team to their first ever Mitre 10 Cup Premiership win in his debut year with the side.
Ngatai’s national representative career continues to flourish. He played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools side in 2007 and 2008, and was part of the Junior World Championship-winning New Zealand U20 team in 2010. Ngatai is a member of the Ngati Porou and Te Whanau-a-Apanui iwi, and has played for the Maori All Blacks since 2012, captaining the side for the past two years.
In 2015 Ngatai made his debut for the All Blacks against Samoa in Apia. He backed up his impressive first outing in the black jersey four days later when he captained the Maori All Blacks against Fiji.
Ngatai joined the Chiefs in 2013, winning the Super Rugby title in his first season. He has played 39 games for the Chiefs to date.