Making his All Blacks debut in 2015, the 30-year-old prop has played 42 Tests and is one game away from bringing up 100 Super Rugby caps, having played 73 matches for the Crusaders and Chiefs, and 26 for the Blues.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby and Performance, Chris Lendrum said Laulala’s experience and expertise in a specialist position continued to be an asset to the teams he represents.
“Nepo’s built up a wealth of experience in a key position, including 42 Tests for the All Blacks while continuing to perform at a high level in the Bunnings NPC and in Super Rugby Pacific, something he has done consistently for the past decade.
“He’s played a key role for the Blues over the past two seasons and I’m sure he will continue to do so in 2023.”
Blues Head Coach, Leon MacDonald, said Laulala’s experience was great to have around the team.
“Nepo’s been an important part of our squad since he returned home to the Auckland region with his family last year and he’s an invaluable part of our tight-five group,” said MacDonald. “He’s a quiet family man with strong values but is also a strong contributor to our team discussions - we are pleased to have him back with us for 2023.”
A trained builder, Lauala was born in Samoa, educated at Auckland’s Wesley College and is one of eight siblings. There’s a fair bit of rugby talent in the Laulala family: older brother Casey (AB#1048) was an All Black (two Tests in 2004 and 2006), while brothers Ray and Luteru have also represented Counties Manukau.