All Black Mealamu to retire from playing rugby

All Black hooker Test centurion Keven Mealamu has announced that he will retire
from playing rugby after the 2015 Rugby World Cup to take up an ambassadorial

Mealamu is expected to be included in the New Zealand squad for the 2015 Rugby
World Cup but if not he will retire at the end of the season.

Mealamu is to become a New Zealand Rugby Ambassador working for the national
body for the next two years, with a particular focus on the wider Auckland strategy
and community rugby.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “We’re delighted to
announce Keven’s appointment as a New Zealand Rugby Ambassador.

“He’s hugely respected by not only our organisation, but the wider rugby
community. He has huge mana amongst the Auckland communities as well for everything
he’s achieved and is the perfect person to carry out this role.

“As an Aucklander, Keven is well aware of the challenges we face in the
greater Auckland region. He’s ideally placed to help us encourage more players,
coaches and referees to embrace the game in the region,” Tew said.

Mealamu said he was “excited and humbled” by the opportunity.

“I’ve loved my time as a rugby player here in New Zealand and loved being
part of all the teams I have represented, particularly the All Blacks. While
there’s a little bit more I want to achieve this year before I hang up my boots,
it’s cool to know that I am going to be still involved in rugby in this new

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to support the game which I love and
which has given me so much, and in my Rugby Ambassador role I look forward to
giving back to the game, to the Auckland region, the wider community, and to
New Zealand Rugby.”

Mealamu will also be involved in promotion of New Zealand Rugby’s other community,
educational and social responsibility initiatives (e.g. the Applaud sideline
behaviour programme) and will also play an ambassadorial role within New Zealand
Rugby’s commercial, charity and VIP programmes.

Keven Mealamu has played 126 Tests so far for the All Blacks and is the most
capped Investec Super Rugby player in history, with 175 appearances. He has
been involved in New Zealand Rugby for more than 30 years since first being
selected as a flanker in the schoolboy New Zealand Under 16 side in 1995.

He was encouraged to switch to hooker and quickly adapted to the front row
and the core essentials of a modern hooker, as a solid scrummager and accurate
lineout thrower, but always retained many of the instincts of a loose forward
with his mobility and skills in the open. He made his provincial debut for Auckland
in 1999, Super Rugby debut in 2000 and All Blacks debut in 2002.

Off-field, he has been involved in numerous community and charity causes over
the years: a talented illustrator, he has collaborated on a number of children’s
books as part of a project to support young children at Auckland’s Starship
Children’s Hospital.

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