Kiwi captain coup

Wed, 15 May 2013 15:10
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Incoming Connacht Head Coach Pat Lam has snapped up promising Junior All Black Jake Heenan for the upcoming season.

Incoming Connacht Head Coach Pat Lam has snapped up promising Junior All Black Jake Heenan for the upcoming season.

The youngester was part of the New Zealand Under-20 side that lost to South Africa in the final of the Junior World Championship last year in South Africa.

The former captain of his schools First XV, Heenan went on to sign for Auckland and was a member of the Blues development programme but was lured in by Lam after he had monitored the abrasive openside flank from an early age.

"I came across Jake when he was 17 years old. He played for the Blues Under-18 team when they won the National competition and, even then, I could see what a natural leader and genuine team player he was," Lam said.

Seems like a player of Heenan's calibre could have gone far in New Zealand but it seems like Lam had his sights firmly set on the youngster.

"He brought those leadership skills, as well as his physicality, to the U20 World Championship last summer with the Baby Blacks.

"Jake is highly regarded back in New Zealand and it is a real coup for Connacht to catch him. I'm very much looking forward to working with him when he arrives here in early July," Lam mentioned.

Heenan joins a long list of New Zealand players that are heading abroad to play their rugby and the talent vacuum that is developing in New Zeland is something that administrators should be addressing urgently.

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