Kiri Kiri is a 2017 Turbo
Antonio Kiri Kiri has put pen to paper to finalise his contract with the Manawatu Turbos for 2017.
The 25-year-old loose forward and New Zealand sevens representative had a contract offer in front of him since the end of last year, but took his time working through his options. Last year Kiri Kiri had hinted at looking overseas after missing a Super Rugby deal.
Manawatu coach Jeremy Cotter said it was important Kiri Kiri had time to consider his next move.
"He just needed to be clear in his own mind that [returning to the Turbos] was what he wanted to do. But he can really see the opportunity now to push on and give Super Rugby a crack," he said.
Cotter said Kiri Kiri's involvement in the Hurricanes during preseason and with the Hurricanes Development XV in recent weeks was a positive sign he was on track.
"It is a good indication that he is there or thereabouts, he just needs to get some quality game time in this Mitre 10 Cup season.
"He is on the radar for higher honours, this is the time for him to really stand up. He has been in this environment for long enough now, he has leadership qualities and things are lining up pretty well. If he is ever going to make it, this will be his year."
With 43 games to his name, Kiri Kiri will likely be the most experience player in the Manawatu squad this year with Aaron Smith (43 games) out with the All Blacks, Jason Emery (49) likely out for the season with an achilles injury and Callum Gibbins (66) heading to Glasgow.
Kiri Kiri, who has scored nine tries for the province including four against Wellington last year, debuted for the Turbos in 2012.