Hurricanes lock in Laumape, Fifita until next World Cup
WELLINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) - All Blacks rookies Vaea Fifita and Ngani Laumape have locked in their immediate playing future with the Wellington Hurricanes by signing new contracts on Wednesday.
Centre Laumape, who started the third test against the British and Irish Lions last Saturday and scored a try in the 15-15 draw, has signed until the end of 2019, while Fifita has signed until 2020, the team said in a statement.
"Coming back to rugby union from rugby league in 2016 was a massive challenge, but the Hurricanes coaches have made the transition a lot easier and I've loved every minute," Laumape said.
"The Hurricanes environment has really helped me develop my game and I can't wait to continue that progress over the next two seasons."
Fifita, who made his All Blacks debut off the bench against Samoa last month, echoed his team mate's sentiments.
"I've learned so much since joining the Hurricanes in 2015 and I feel very lucky to have been part of the club over the past three years," Fifita said.
"Representing the All Blacks was a dream come true and I'm thankful to the Hurricanes coaching staff for helping me realise my potential. I know I still have a long way to go and the Hurricanes is the right place for me to continue my career."
Centre Matt Proctor and lock Geoff Cridge have also re-signed with the 2016 Super Rugby champions and coach Chris Boyd said he was excited about the next few seasons. "We are very lucky to have some great talent at the club right now in a lot of different positions and to be able to lock in players of the calibre of Ngani, Vaea, Matt and Geoff for next year and beyond is great," Boyd said.
"All of these guys are in their early to mid-20s and that allows us to move forward with some real confidence as we look to build on the club's recent success."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)