Another All Black takes a sabbatical

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 07:29
Large kevin mealamu blues media Large kevin mealamu ab scrum Large kevin mealamu line out

Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu has become the latest player to opt for a 'sabbatical' during next year's Super Rugby competition.

Veteran hooker Keven Mealamu has become the latest player to opt for a 'sabbatical' during next year's Super Rugby competition.

Only, his absence from the game will be a lot shorter than the six-month holiday afforded to All Black captain Richie McCaw.

 Mealamu has also given up the Blues captaincy.

The Blues and New Zealand Rugby Union on Thursday announced that Mealamu will extend his leave period for several weeks, and start his Super Rugby season in March.

The 102-Test veteran, who just returned to New Zealand on Thursday with the All Blacks, plans to take a well-deserved rest after a huge 2012 season which started in February and only concluded last weekend.

This extended leave means Mealamu will miss the first three matches of the Blues' season and will return to the fray on 18 March after the Blues' bye and before they play the Waratahs in Sydney.

Mealamu has chosen to exercise one of several options negotiated in his latest NZRU contract which runs through to the end of 2013.

"It's a total break away from the routines of the game so that I can enjoy some downtime and chill out with my family before getting back into it in a few months' time," Mealamu said.

“It's been a great season with the All Blacks, but we were very disappointed with our Blues results this year so I am keen to come back strongly to contribute to a much better campaign in 2013," he added.

"I have asked JK [head coach John Kirwan] to not appoint me as captain for the Blues in 2013 recognising that he and the team will want the skipper to lead from the start of the season.  I am very grateful for the way JK has approached these matters to allow me to have this break."

Kirwan said he was supportive of Mealamu's desire to keep playing at the top level for as long as possible.

"We recognised that in order to do that for the long term, as well as give his best to the Blues next year, it would be important and very sensible for Keven to take a break at the start of the season," Kirwan said.

"Relinquishing the captaincy followed naturally and it shows he is thinking of the team first which is what Keven always does," he added.

Blues CEO Andy Dalton said Mealamu's commitment to the Blues has always been exemplary.

“Keven is hugely respected as a man and a player who gives so much to rugby and he has no doubt earned this right. We will however, be very pleased to see him back in the Blues No.2 jersey in March.”

NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said Mealamu was one of the hardest working men in rugby both on and off the field.

“Keven has only just returned today [Thursday] from his off-shore rugby commitments, and it's entirely understandable that he will want to take a long break to spend more time with his family.

“He has been an outstanding leader on the field, and off it, he is still a true gentleman. He did an outstanding job fronting for the Blues 2012 during a trying Super Rugby season, and this year he became just the third All Black to achieve 100 All Blacks Test matches.

“This is a sensible break for Keven, and one we hope will allow him to keep performing at that top level for a lot longer,” Tew said.

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26