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New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu puts off his return until March

Updated: Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 13:35 | Comments

Keven Mealamu will take a break until March
Keven Mealamu will take a break until March

All Blacks and Blues hooker Keven Mealamu has postponed his return to action until March after extending his leave period by several weeks.

The 102-test veteran will miss the first three matches of Super Rugby side Blues' season before returning on 18 March.

"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 a total break away from the routines of the game so that I can enjoy some downtime" - Keven Mealamu

Mealamu has just returned from New Zealand's tour of the northern hemisphere at the end of a 2012 season disrupted by injury.

He has the backing of his Auckland-based club while New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Steve Tew called the extended leave period a sensible move by the 33-year-old.

"Keven has only just returned today from his off-shore rugby commitments, and it's entirely understandable that he will want to take a long break to spend more time with his family," Tew said.

"This is a sensible break for Keven, and one we hope will allow him to keep performing at that top level for a lot longer."

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