Black and Gatland sign with the Blues

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Lynn McConnell     28 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Black has played all his Super Rugby for the Hurricanes while Gatland, who came to light for North Harbour in the Mitre 10 Cup last season as the side won promotion from the Championship to the Premiership, was called in as cover for the Blues this season.


Incumbent five-eighths Piers Francis is returning to England to play for Northampton while Ihaia West is taking Black's place in Wellington.

The signing of the duo represents a long-term attempt to provide solidity in the position which has been lacking in the Blues for several years.

Perofeta, 20, made his debut after a season of frustrating injuries, in Samoa against the Reds when playing as a substitute and then started in the win over the British & Irish Lions.

Black, who has signed until 2019, and Gatland, who has signed for one year, are both 22 years of age.

Black who has played 17 times for the Hurricanes, and 31 times for Manawatu, said: "It was a hard decision for me to decide to leave the Hurricanes.

"The team has been a big part of my life and has shaped me to be who I am today as a player. I owe the coaching group, the players and the staff a great deal.

"I am excited about the chance to be part of such an exciting playing group at the Blues and I am looking forward to working with Tana again," he said.

"There are no guarantees but I hope to make the Blues 10 jumper my own and I am looking forward to all the challenges that come with that."

Blues coach Tana Umaga said it was an exciting development for the side.

"Otere is a young player of considerable talent. I had the pleasure of coaching him with the New Zealand Under-20s at the Junior World Cup where he played a big part in that win," he said.

"He is an accomplished first-five and will be a valuable addition to our young group of first-fives.

"Bryn impressed us when he came into the Blues this year with his ability and a level of maturity beyond his years. He showed with his performance against the Lions [for the NZ Provincial Barbarians] that he can rise to the big occasion," he said.

At the same time Umaga said Francis had brought professional attitude to the Blues while West had been an excellent contributor on and off the field and both players would be assets to their new teams.