WELLINGTON - All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett ended speculation concerning his future by signing a two-year contract extension with the Wellington Hurricanes on Thursday.
The 23-year-old only signed a 12-month deal last year after reportedly almost joining the Auckland Blues and his move north to John Kirwan&39;s side was again the topic of discussion last month.
Kirwan knocked back those suggestions last week then signed Ihaia West to a two-year contract earlier this week, virtually ensuring that Barrett would be staying in New Zealand&39;s capital.
"I&39;m really happy that I&39;ve committed to the Hurricanes and look forward to being part of an exciting team for next season," Barrett said in a Hurricanes&39; statement.
"We have a relatively young team here and I really enjoy the role I play within the squad, it&39;s been great for my overall rugby development.
"While some of our results this year have been a bit up and down, I feel as a team we have improved in what has been a really tight competition and hopefully we have some luck this weekend so we are still in with a chance of making the playoffs."
Barrett&39;s performances with the Hurricanes have been the best of his short Super Rugby career and catapulted him into the national discussion as to which player would be the All Blacks starting flyhalf this season.
Aaron Cruden won that battle in last month&39;s test series against England but Barrett&39;s development has indicated that Steve Hansen&39;s All Blacks would have at least three world class flyhalves available for the 2015 World Cup in England.
World leading points scorer Dan Carter has just returned from a six-month sabbatical and will be eager to knock back the challenge from Cruden and Barrett when the southern hemisphere&39;s Rugby Championship begins in August.
The Hurricanes have completed their regular season and are fifth in the Super Rugby standings but must wait on games this weekend to find out whether they finish in the top six and make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
The Wellington-based team are on 41 points, with the ACT Brumbies, Western Force and Waikato Chiefs all on 40 points with matches to play this weekend.