Article

Mealamu gives up Blues captaincy

6 December 2012 14:14

All Blacks veteran Keven Mealamu has stepped down as captain of the Blues and will extend his leave period for several weeks.

Mealamu, who this year became just the third player to make 100 appearances for the All Blacks, implemented a clause in his contract to ensure the longer break.

The 33-year-old hooker will now miss the opening three matches of the Super Rugby season, which kicks off in February, and return to the fold on March 18 ahead of the Blues' clash with the Waratahs in Sydney.

"It's a total break away from the routines of the game so that I can enjoy some downtime and chill out with my family before getting back into it in a few months' time," Mealamu said.

"It's been a great season of All Blacks rugby but we were very disappointed with our Blues results this year so I am keen to come back strongly to contribute to a much better campaign in 2013.

"I have asked JK (Sir John Kirwan) to not appoint me as captain for the Blues in 2013 recognising that he and the team will want the skipper to lead from the start of the season.

"I am very grateful for the way JK has approached these matters to allow me to have this break."

Blues coach Kirwan said he was supportive of Mealamu's decision following a gruelling 2012 campaign that began in February and ended only last weekend.

"We recognised that in order to do that for the long term, as well as give his best to the Blues next year, it would be important and very sensible for Keven to take a break at the start of the season," he said.

"Relinquishing the captaincy followed naturally and it shows he is thinking of the team first which is what Keven always does."

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