The ACT Brumbies are backing Tevita Kuridrani to be a future Wallaby and have beaten cashed-up European clubs to re-sign the flying Fijian until the end of 2015.
The Canberra Times can reveal Kuridrani has agreed to a new two-year deal after establishing himself as a regular Super Rugby starter this season.
There was speculation this week that the powerful outside centre had signed with Italian club Zebras. But ACT coach Jake White said the Brumbies had secured the talented 22-year-old as he aims to keep a core squad together to be regular Super Rugby title contenders. The Brumbies will start preparing to play in the finals for the first time since 2004 when they resume their Super Rugby campaign next week.
''With Tevita, I know where he is with his development. When he came we said he had to be patient but he's taken every opportunity he's been given,'' White said.
''Now he's embraced everything before him. Playing with Henry Speight outside him and Christian Lealiifano inside him, he's going to learn. The more he plays, the better he will become.''
The Brumbies have signed most of their roster for next season and beyond. Only a handful of players will depart at the end of the season to chase more game time at other franchises or move to Europe on lucrative deals.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen, David Pocock, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore and Pat McCabe have all re-signed until the end of 2015. Veteran winger Clyde Rathbone has signed a one-year extension, while Fotu Auelua, Andrew Smith, Siliva Siliva and Nic White have committed to new deals.
It's likely the Brumbies will wait until the ARU clarifies its stance on foreign recruits before deciding which players they need to recruit into their 35-man squad. ''What I'm trying to do is make sure there is continuity and consistency in the club,'' White said.
Meanwhile, tickets for the Brumbies' home final went on sale to members on Wednesday.
The Brumbies will play a finals match at Canberra Stadium on either July 19-20 or July 26-27.
They will play their last regular-season match against the Western Force in Perth on July 13.
If the Pretoria Bulls and Waikato Chiefs lose their games this weekend, the Brumbies could still snatch a spot in the top two and earn a week off to start their finals campaign.