Crusaders confirm signing of All Blacks World Cup hopeful
- Publish Date
- Thursday, 25 May 2023, 6:39AM
Levi Aumua has confirmed his All Blacks ambitions and will be joining a new Super Rugby Pacific team in 2024.
The impressive midfield back has signed a two-year deal with the Crusaders, linking with the club until the end of 2025. It will be his fourth team in the competition, after stints with the Blues and Chiefs before his star rose with Moana Pasifika.
Aumua’s decision seemingly puts to an end any debate about where his future lies on the international level. Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia and with Fijian and Samoan heritage, the 28-year-old is eligible to represent all four nations in the international arena as he is yet to make his test debut.
However, in announcing his signing with the Crusaders, Aumua gave a strong indication of his goals in that arena.
“In my career I have been lucky enough to play all over the world, but in recent times my desire to try play for the All Blacks has intensified,” Aumua said.
“At the end of last year, I got a small taste with the All Blacks XV which only strengthened my hunger to play for the All Blacks.
“With this in mind, I have decided to commit myself to the Crusaders for the next two years, a group I know well from my time with Tasman Mako.”
While he has bounced around teams in his career, Aumua flourished in his time with Moana Pasifika as an attacking force and has shown developments throughout his game in the extended playing time.
That saw him named in the All Blacks XV at the end of the 2022 season and has seen him tipped by many for a maiden call-up to the All Blacks at some stage this year.
“Levi is an extremely exciting player and we’re looking forward to him bringing his own point of difference to the playing group we’re building here at the Crusaders,” Crusaders general manager of professional rugby Angus Gardiner said.
“He’s had an outstanding season with Moana Pasifika, his stats are undeniable and his outputs across the park are very high.”
The news comes with the Crusaders preparing for a new era, as head coach Scott Robertson and assistant Scott Hansen move into roles with the All Blacks in 2024.
In the midfield, the defending Super Rugby Pacific champions recently re-signed All Black David Havili. However, they are yet to confirm if several All Blacks backline options will have a future with the team beyond the 2023 season, including Braydon Ennor, Leicester Fainga’anuku and Jack Goodhue, who are all regular midfield options.
The team are also one of many yet to confirm who will be their head coach in 2024.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission
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