Super Rugby
Luke Braid re-commits to Blues
ESPN Staff
July 24, 2014
Luke Braid has led the Blues from the front © Getty Images

Blues captain Luke Braid has recommitted to the Super Rugby franchise, signing a one-year deal as he is "still incredibly motivated to win something with the Blues and continue to try and make the All Blacks"

Braid, 25, was a strong performer this season, despite carrying a shoulder injury for most of the year, and he underwent surgery on his right shoulder two weeks ago. He is expected to undergo surgery on his left shoulder in August, ruling him out of Auckland's ITM Cup campaign, but he expects to be fit for the start of the Blues' 2015 Super Rugby campaign.

"I've been through the good times with the Blues in my first year when we made the semis, hit rock bottom the following year and we've been working our way back up since then," he said. "I feel we're heading in the right direction and am keen to stick around and keep working hard to achieve our goals."

Frank Halai takes a hard hit, Blues v Crusaders, Eden Park, Super Rugby, February 28, 2014
Frank Halai has also signed a new one-year deal © Getty Images

Brendon O'Connor and Frank Halai have both also signed a fresh one-year deal with the Blues, while Bryn Hall has re-signed until the end of 2016.

O'Connor, recently named captain of ITM Cup team Hawke's Bay Magpies, said "the Blues is the best place for me".

"Having Braidy here as well means there's stiff competition," the flanker said. "We keep challenging each other and that can only be good for us and for the team. I'm just going to keep pushing my case for selection and keep taking the opportunities I get."

Braid and O'Connor join All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua as flankers who are under contract with the Blues.

Hall was a revelation for the Blues in 2014, performing extremely well to usurp All Blacks veteran Piri Weepu as the No.1 half-back.

"Obviously it was pretty disappointing from a team point of view that we weren't able to achieve what we set out to but personally I feel I've become a much better player," he said.

Halai joins Charles Piutau and Lolagi Visinia as back-three players under contract, and he is "very motivated to get back in the All Blacks and help lead the Blues to success next season".

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