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Host of All Blacks re-sign with New Zealand Rugby Union
ESPN Staff
October 27, 2012
New Zealand centre Conrad Smith fights the elements during training,  North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand, October 5, 2011
Conrad Smith is one of a number of players who has re-newed his contract with the All Blacks © Getty Images
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The All Blacks have been handed a tinmely boost ahead of their end of year tour of the northern hemisphere with the news that a number of key players have re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Centre Ma'a Nonu, second-rows Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams and Anthony Boric and No. 8 Keiran Reid have put pen to paper until the end of 2013. Centre Conrad Smith, fullback Israel Dagg, Tony Woodcock, scrumhalves Piri Weepu and Aaron Smith, flanker Victor Vito and hooker Hikawera Elliot have signed on through till 2014. Prop Ben Franks meanwhile has committed to the end of 2015.

"I love playing my footy here so was keen to extend my contract again," Smith said. "Given my number of years in the game, I was impressed with the way the whole process was handled and I look forward to the next few years in New Zealand."

Their signings follow the All Blacks signing up leading players such as captain Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Luke Romano, Richard Kahui and Zac Guildford.

Having won the inaugural Rugby Championship and retained the Bledisloe Cup, the All Blacks' next challenge is a four Test tour of Europe. Steve Hansen's team start against Scotland in Edinburgh on November 10, take on Italy on Rome on November 17, then meet Wales in Cardiff on November 24 and finally England at Twickenham on December 1.

"We are delighted that a number of players have re-signed with New Zealand rugby for the immediate future," Hansen said. "I would like to congratulate the NZRU and the staff on their hard work in achieving that. Having that experience available will be essential in building this team beyond where it is at the moment and gives us confidence in going forward."

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