TJ Perenara playing for the Lions against Counties-Manukau in 2013. PHOTO: Getty Sport

Perenara to remain in Wellington for four more years

Home is where the heart is for Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara.

The Wellington-born and bred 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with New Zealand Rugby that will keep him with the Wellington Lions and Hurricanes until at least the end of the 2021 season.

Perenara said inking a long term deal with his home country, province and union was an easy decision.

"The All Blacks will always be the goal and to be able to chase that dream for another four years here in New Zealand is a challenge I'm looking forward to.

"Being in Wellington and playing for the Hurricanes is a big driver for me. It's where I grew up, it's my home and its where my family is. Family means a lot and being able to be close to them and be around them is important.

 "To be honest I couldn't see myself playing for another franchise or province in New Zealand and the fact that they also want me around makes it even more special to me.

Perenara grew up in Titahi Bay and attended Mana College before joining the Northern United club and graduating to the Wellington Lions as an 18-year-old in 2010.

He made his Wellington debut in 2010 against Southland in Invercargill and has represented the Lions 14 times in total, most recently in 2013.

Wellington Rugby Union chief executive Steve Rogers said Perenara's loyalty to the union was a reflection of his character on and off the field.

"TJ was born and bred in Wellington and came through Mana College and the Northern United club to the Lions. He made his debut for as an 18-year-old back in 2010 and has remained a strong presence within our union throughout his playing career. We are thrilled he will be around for another four years."

Perenara has also become a mainstay for the Hurricanes since making his Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench against the Stormers in Cape Town in 2012. Since then he's gone on to play a total of 96 matches in Canes colours, and scored an impressive 44 tries.

During last year's run to the Investec Super Rugby semi-finals he appeared in all 17 matches, starting 16 of them, scoring seven tries, and captaining the side 12 times in the absence of injured captain Dane Coles.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen described Perenara as a "world class" player and an important part of the team.

"He's an incredibly competitive athlete who has taken his game to another level in recent seasons and he has a great understanding of what it means to be a Test player with close to 40 Tests under his belt.

"He plays a key role for us both on and off the park and is continuing to look to develop his all-round skills, including his leadership skills, and in fact, has now become one of the senior players in the squad.  We all congratulate him on his decision which is fantastic for the future."

Perenara has played 39 Tests for the All Blacks and scored eight tries since making his international debut against England in 2014.