Birthday boy David Havili has inked a new contract with the Crusaders which will keep him in New Zealand until the end of 2023.

Havili first signed with the Crusaders in 2015 and has since played over 80 matches for the Super Rugby champions.

The widely talented utility was unlucky not to earn an All Blacks call-up this year after performing exceptionally across the Crusaders backline. Havili covered fullback, the midfield and even flyhalf at one stage and has outright stated that the lure of the black jersey is keeping the 26-year-old in New Zealand, despite offers from offshore.

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“I didn’t want to have any regrets when I finish playing. I just wanted to give myself every opportunity to get the most out of NZ Rugby, I think I’ve got a lot more to add,” Havili told Stuff.

“I had some pretty good offers in Japan. But I’m still pretty young, I’ve still got higher aspirations…I had to take a couple of weeks to decide on what I really wanted to do.

“I want to get back into that All Blacks jersey and I couldn’t do that overseas.”

Havili made his first appearance for the All Blacks against Argentina in 2017, scoring a try on debut, and featured in four further matches for the New Zealand national side during that 2017 season.

Injuries have plagued the Crusaders co-captain’s career since his international debut and restricted Havili’s minutes in 2020 – but many were still surprised when the utility back missed out on an All Blacks re-call.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Conversation podcast, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson admitted he was somewhat perplexed at Havili’s lack of opportunities at the highest level.

When asked what Havili needed to do to win selection in the All Blacks, Robertson was out of ideas.

“Play halfback?” was his only suggestion.

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