So'oialo stays for 'unfinished business'

Wednesday 18 March 2009 12:07

Key All Blacks loose forward Rodney So'oialo has re-signed with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to the end of 2011, saying he had "unfinished World Cup business".

So'oialo, capped 55 times for the All Blacks, said the well-being of his family, was also a strong factor in his decision to spurn overseas offers.

"There has been approaches from other parties, Tim Castle, my agent, knows more about those deals - I just focus on my family and rugby and let TC do the work outside.

"It was never in doubt that I was always gonna stay here," So'oialo said today.

"My heart lies with Wellington rugby and also New Zealand.

"Because of my family, my wife and two little girls, (it) just makes it that much easier to commit not only to New Zealand but to Wellington and the Hurricanes."

New Zealand's World Cup failures meant he still felt he had a job to do.

"It's still very painful from the last two World Cups I that went to - (winning it) is one of my long term goals," So'oialo, 29, said, adding that a closer target was to achieve 100 appearances for the Hurricanes, having reached 79 so far.

So'oialo, who has had a busy playing schedule over the past two years, indicated a "sabbatical" such as the one taken by Dan Carter was not on his mind.

"(However) part of my contract says I do have the option of, not so much taking a break, but giving my body what it needs - whether re-habbing or getting it a little bit stronger."

So'oialo, who has captained the All Blacks four times, is the latest in a group of core players - All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, Keven Mealamu, Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore are others - who have recently re-signed with the NZRU through to the end of 2011.

"I am also excited by the World Cup in 2011 and would love to represent my country on home soil in that tournament," he added.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the importance of re-signing someone as experienced and respected as So'oialo could not be underestimated.

"Rodney is an outstanding, world-class player who could have easily commanded a significant package overseas, so we are thrilled to have him re-commit through to the end of 2011," Tew said.

" He has been tremendously loyal to Wellington, the Hurricanes and New Zealand and we thank him for his loyalty."

Tew clarified that, as with all contracted players, the NZRU was looking at "individualising" contracts.

"We don't know what the next 18-months to two years hold for Rodney - if he needs a break, the decision will be taken at the time."

This story was sourced from The New Zealand Herald.

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