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Mealamu commits to NZRU

All Blacks and Blues hooker Keven Mealamu has committed his future to the New Zealand Rugby Union after agreeing a new deal which will take him through to 2013.

Mealamu was thought to be considering a move to Europe following this year's World Cup but has joined several other big names, including prop Tony Woodcock, number eight Kieran Read and centre Conrad Smith, in deciding to remain in his homeland.

Mealamu said: "I am very grateful to the New Zealand Rugby Union, the Blues and Auckland Rugby and their respective management teams for all the work they have done with me and for the unconditional support they have shown me and I'm delighted to be staying in New Zealand."

Mealamu, 32, who is the fourth most-capped Kiwi of all time thanks to his 83 appearances, made his Test debut in 2002 and also captained his country to victory over Scotland in November 2008.

He made his Super Rugby debut for the Blues in 2000 and was the first player to play 100 games in the competition for the franchise.

He added: "Loyalty is something I believe in; and I have always hoped I could repay the support I have been given, by showing my continued loyalty to New Zealand."

New Zealand coach Graham Henry added: "Keven is a very important part of the All Blacks team, is part of our leadership group and is a very special man.

"He is a role model not just in rugby but also the wider communities he is involved in, he gives so much of himself and we are delighted that he will be staying in New Zealand."

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