Injured Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara is poised to stay put in New Zealand, signing a two-year deal to remain with the Hurricanes and NZ Rugby until 2026.
Perenara hasn’t played since rupturing his Achilles tendon in the All Blacks’ final test of last year against England.
Newshub understands the 80-test veteran has knocked back overseas offers and considered returning to Japan, but a burning desire to add to his All Blacks legacy will ultimately see him recommit to New Zealand.
Perenara first indicated he wasn’t giving up on his All Blacks dream in a wide-ranging interview with Newshub earlier this year.
“Getting a taste of test match rugby again at the end of the year definitely poured a bit of fuel back onto that fire,” Perenara said. “I honestly believe I’ve got a lot more to give.
“My desire to compete on the world stage is stronger than it has been for a long time.”
Perenara, 31, has endured a frustrating year of rehab. His initial timeline of an April or May return to play was delayed by a setback that required further surgery. He has had to watch Cam Roigard shine in his absence, rewarded with a call-up to the All Blacks Rugby Championship squad – but he isn’t finished.
With Aaron Smith and Brad Weber both heading overseas next year, the opportunity beckons for Perenara to stake his claim as the All Blacks’ senior halfback going forward.
That’s no certainty and after falling out of favour with the All Blacks selectors last year, Perenara will have a job on his hands to prove to incoming coach Scott Robertson that he’s worthy of a recall.
His experience could be vital. With Smith and Weber leaving, Roigard, Finlay Christie and Folau Fakatava shape as the main halfback contenders from 2024, but they have accumulated a mere 16 tests among them, leaving the All Blacks light in a key position.
Perenara has no chance of fighting his way into Ian Foster’s World Cup squad later this year, confined to more rehab and recovery, as he begins the next fight in his rugby career.
His commitment will be music to the ears of Hurricanes fans, who will have one of their favourite sons back in yellow and black, and running onto the ‘Cake Tin’ for the next two years.
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