WELLINGTON - All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty rejected offers from overseas to instead sign up for another year in New Zealand with the Canterbury Crusaders, the 28-year-old said on Monday.
Crotty played 27 tests in the four years since his debut and became a crucial member of a New Zealand midfield that had to be overhauled after the test retirements of Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu in 2015.
"I like to take things one year at a time and when I thought about where I could picture myself in 2018, I just didn't feel like my time here in New Zealand was up yet," Crotty said in a New Zealand Rugby news release.
"I still get a thrill each time I pull on the black or red and black jerseys and... I genuinely think I have my best rugby in me yet."
A sign of his importance to the organisation of New Zealand's backline, particularly in defence, came when he was rushed back from a rib injury to play in the opening test against the British and Irish Lions last month.
He lasted only half an hour before being replaced because of a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the rest of the series, but he is hoping to return in the Crusaders' Super Rugby quarter-final against the Otago Highlanders this weekend.
"We are delighted that 'Crotts' has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby," said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
"He's an incredibly valuable member of the All Blacks, is a smart footballer and provides us with a cool, calm, collected presence in the midfield."