Weather Fiji, Suva   Max 30°C, Min 23°C

Fiji Sun

WEEKEND

Damian McKenzie The New Face of the Mighty All Blacks?

Damian McKenzie  The New Face of the Mighty All Blacks?
Ajay Bhai Amrit with rising rugby star Damian McKenzie.
July 10
12:56 2017

Damian McKenzie doesn’t seem to have put a foot wrong this season or last season as he has secured his place as the stand out super rugby player for The Chiefs rugby franchise.

As the All Blacks begin preparations for the 2019 Rugby World Cup which will be held in Japan, all eyes are focused on the young and emerging talent coming through the ranks.

Mr McKenzie is certainly one of the young guns coming through, at the age of 22, he has played in every single Chiefs game in last season’s campaign, he also contributed for the compete 80 minutes in every match.

Fast forward to this season and once again he has played in every minute of every game for the Chiefs as they take on all comers.

This in itself is a mighty feat, add to this in the 2016 season he was top try scorer for his club and was overall in the competition was the second highest try scorer.

He finished the season as the second highest point-scorer with 199 points, with 10 tries, 43 conversions and 21 penalty goals

Mr McKenzie can switch between full back (15) and fly half (10) effortlessly and it will be interesting to see which position he and his coaches finally decide to focus on.

The advantage is of course he can play very well in both positions whether it be for club of country.

Mr McKenzie has represented the New Zealand under 20s in 2014 where he was a pivotal player for the team and was also most valuable player of the tournament. On October 1, 2016 he finally made his full international debut against Argentina with the All Blacks winning 36-17.

In terms of size and strength he might seem quite ordinary weighing just over 80 kilos and standing at around 179cm, actually he has the build of a soccer player rather than one of a rugby player, but don’t let looks deceive you.

 

An extraordinary talent

He has a natural flair around the ball and can make things happen out of nowhere, his kicking skills are second to none whether it is place kicking, drop goal attempts or converting kicks for penalties and tries.

What really stands out in Mr McKenzie’s game is his ability to read what’s going on around him and react accordingly.

This is what separates good players from great players and judging from his form bar any injuries it does look like Mr McKenzie might well have what it takes to become a great player

Mr McKenzie is a young and confident individual on the field, which as many athletes know is 50 per cent of the battle, to overcome nerves and insecurity, but he thrives on this, the bigger the match the better he plays.

In regards to the fast nature of super rugby he just loves it and is willing to play his heart out at an incredible pace which he relishes.

When it comes to naming his favourite rugby player, he told me it was former All Black and legend Christian Cullen, in fact it is a great fit as Mr Cullen loved to play a high tempo expansive game, Mr McKenzie also loves this similar type of game.

Overall it does look like Damian McKenzie has the potential to follow in the footsteps of other great names in the sport and stamp his mark as a great All Black player.

He certainly has the right temperament and also the right attitude to turn his dream into a reality.

After my meeting with him I can say with confidence that given the chance he will give 100 per cent effort to make his fans and nation proud.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 

Related Articles

you said it
"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend

Like Us On Facebook

Fijisun Online @Instagram