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All Blacks hooker Taylor commits to Crusaders until 2021

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: Codie Taylor of the Crusaders charges forward during the round four Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Blues at AMI Stadium on March 17, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

All Blacks and Crusaders Super rugby title winning hooker Codie Taylor has become the first All Black to sign a long-term contract with New Zealand Rugby, extending his contract through to 2021.

Talented young All Blacks, Crusaders and Canterbury hooker Codie Taylor has become the 26-year-old Taylor said re-signing with New Zealand Rugby, the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby was the best decision for him and his family.

“I feel like I am living the dream at the moment, raising my young family here in New Zealand and playing for these teams that I love, so recommitting through to 2021 just makes sense for me,” Taylor said.  “I am grateful to everyone who has shown faith in me and allowed me to get this far with my rugby career, and I want to continue repaying them by playing the best rugby I can here in New Zealand for a while yet.”

Born and raised in Levin, Taylor started his professional rugby career with Canterbury in 2012.  He was also part of the New Zealand Under 20 team which won the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship. He joined the  Crusaders in 2013, however a run of injuries limited his opportunities initially. The powerful scrummager cemented a place over the following seasons though. An impressive 2014 season included three tries for Canterbury and an 89 percent tackle success rate in the provincial season, as well as selection in the Maori All Blacks and a try in Tokyo. He went from being the least experienced hooker in the Crusaders squad in 2015 to his All Blacks debut and a spot in the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, following in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather, 1893 All Black Walter Pringle.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “It’s exciting knowing that Codie has re-signed through to 2021, the first of our group to extend his contract that far. He’s an outstanding, young hooker and a key part of the future of the All Blacks so we congratulate him and his partner Lucy on the decision.  Codie’s worked hard and made outstanding progress since coming into the group in 2015, he’s taken his opportunities when they have come and really showed in his three starts in the recent Lions Series that he has the skillset and temperament to play at a world-class level.”

Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson describes Taylor as a uniquely skilled player and great team man: “You could put Codie pretty much anywhere on the field and he would perform his roles brilliantly.  He’s blessed with natural strength, speed and skills, but he works as hard as anyone to ensure he is at his best every time he takes the field. His unassuming nature and always positive attitude make him an absolute pleasure to coach and to have in the team environment. We have just celebrated Codie’s 50th Crusaders game, and with his re-signing to 2021 we will hopefully get to enjoy at least another 50 more.”

Codie Taylor is the first All Black to commit through to 2021. Samuel Whitelock, All Blacks Vice-Captain Ben Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown are signed through to 2020, while All Blacks Captain Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams, Joe Moody, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Nathan Harris, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Squire, Liam Coltman and Ngani Laumape have all inked deals through to 2019.