McKenzie still a perfect 10

Sat, 03 Mar 2018 09:28

REACTION: Utility back Damian McKenzie may have been struggling to find the same form at flyhalf that he has shown at fullback. However, he is unperturbed by the media hype.

In fact the 22-year-old All Black is going to follow the masterplan for his career.

McKenzie, Chiefs coach Colin Cooper and the All Blacks selectors all want to see McKenzie feature at flyhalf more regularly.

Despite being forced to start at fullback - the result of an injury suffered by Shaun Stevenson in the warm-up before the Chiefs' 27-21 win over the Blues in Auckland this past Friday - McKenzie often came in as the first receiver.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper says he'll look to move the 22-year-old back in as the starting No.10.

"That's what we're going to do," Cooper said.

"We've got that opportunity to move him back to No.15 but grow him as a No.10 also.

"I want it, he wants it, the All Blacks want it.

"It's a winner.

"We did the same with Beauden Barrett at Taranaki, it took him a while to adjust from No.15 to No.10, it will take Damian [a while], he's just got to be given the time and patience."

Against the Crusaders the previous week, McKenzie showed that he is a work in progress - to get up to speed with the intricacies of playing at flyhalf, but he is determined to keep plugging away.

"It's something I want to try and also improve on over the year," he said.

"Obviously, I want to play there and through injury, I didn't this weekend, but I'm hoping that throughout the season I get a few more shots there, while Tiaan and Marty [McKenzie] can step into the role if need be."


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Fri, 23 March 2018
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