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Break for hard-working Blues hooker

09:30 Fri Dec 7 2012
AAP
Keven Mealamu
Keven Mealamu will miss the first three matches of the Blues' Super Rugby season.

All Blacks and Blues stalwart Keven Mealamu won't start his Super Rugby season until March, missing the first three matches of the Blues' campaign.

The 102-Test veteran, who returned to New Zealand on Thursday with the All Blacks, plans to rest after a huge 2012 rugby season which started in February and only ended last weekend.

The All Blacks hooker's first game of the 2013 Super Rugby season will be on March 18, ahead of the Blues' week six match against the Waratahs in Sydney.

"It's a total break away from the routines of the game so I can enjoy some downtime and chill out with my family before getting back into it in a few months' time," Mealamu said.

"It's been a great season of All Blacks rugby but we were very disappointed with our Blues results this year, so I'm keen to come back strongly to contribute to a much better campaign in 2013."

The Blues finished bottom of the New Zealand conference in the 2012 Super Rugby season, managing just four wins from 16 games.

Mealamu said he had also opted to stand down from the captaincy next year, recognising that Blues coach Sir John Kirwan would want his skipper to lead from the start of the season.

Kirwan says he supports Mealamu's wish to keep playing at the top level for as long as possible.

"We recognised that in order to do that for the long term, as well as give his best to the Blues next year, it would be important and very sensible for Keven to take a break at the start of the season."