Wellington: All Blacks pivot Aaron Cruden announced Tuesday he had re-signed with the All Blacks for another three years, securing his services for next year`s World Cup and the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour.
The 25-year-old, who has proved an able understudy to the ageing Dan Carter, said he was delighted to be staying with the All Blacks, who have a policy of not picking players who are not based in New Zealand.
"I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given and I want to continue giving my very best to this great game," he said.
Cruden earned the first of his 31 Test caps in 2010 but really came of age a year later, when he became the All Blacks` playmaker at the World Cup after Carter suffered a tournament-ending groin strain.
While an injury forced him off in the final, Cruden did enough in New Zealand`s successful campaign for him to be anointed Carter`s long-term successor.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Cruden, who survived a bout of testicular cancer in 2008, offered leadership and exciting skills.
"`Crudes` is an outstanding young talent, a great team man and leader in our group," he said. "His contribution to All Blacks rugby and his other teams has been outstanding."
Cruden is also co-captain of the Waikato Chiefs, back-to-back defending champions in the Super 15 competition.
With Carter on a sabbatical, Cruden has faced competition for the number 10 jersey during the current series against England from Wellington Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett.
England lead the series 2-0 ahead of the third and final Test in Hamilton on Saturday.