Rugby Championship

Duffie revels in All Blacks call-up

2017-10-24 22:28
Matt Duffie (Getty)

Cape Town - Four shoulder operations and two ACL injuries couldn't keep new All Black cap Matt Duffie down after he was named in the New Zealand squad on Monday for their end-of-year tour to France and Britain in November.

Duffie, 27, the Blues and North Harbour wing-fullback, was one of four new caps named to make the tour on Monday. 

He is the country's latest triple international having been a member of New Zealand's Australian Rules Football team at age 16, and a member of the New Zealand Kiwis league team for the 2011 Test against Australia while playing for the Melbourne Storm in the NRL.

However, there is a cost. A planned excursion to Rarotonga with old school friends (he attended Saint Kentigern College in Auckland) and an end-of-season trip to New York with his partner have had to be put on hold for him to make the tour.

"It's awesome, it's one of those things that you never really think is going to happen and you're lucky enough that it does and I'm very excited for the next month and what that holds," he said.

"It's nice for me but it's also nice for all the people who helped me along the way and who put in a lot of hard work to get me back on the field and get me playing well. And also the people that kept faith in me when I was injured.

"(Storm coach) Craig Bellamy threw me a lifeline when I was injured, he gave me another year on my contract. If he didn't do that I don't know where I would be."

Duffie experienced a horror run of injuries involving his four shoulder operations, two on each side, two ACL injuries, one involving one operation the other, eight months later, requiring three bouts of surgery to get right.

"It was after that second ACL that I didn't really know whether I would be back on the field. The first time I started running after that I was terrible," he said.

His return to rugby from a 61-game five-season stint with the Melbourne Storm in the NRL was not driven by one thing, but by several happenings.

"I never thought it would happen but I guess the more I talked about it the more I started to like the idea and when Tana (Umaga) was appointed Blues coach that was the catalyst that 'yes', I really trusted that I would be in good hands by going to the Blues," he said.

New Zealand squad:

Forwards

Asafo Aumua (Hurricanes), Dane Coles (Hurricanes), Nathan Harris (Chiefs), Codie Taylor (Crusaders), Wyatt Crockett (Crusaders), Kane Hames (Chiefs), Nepo Laulala (Chiefs), Tim Perry (Crusaders), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Blues), Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Luke Romano (Crusaders), Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues), Samuel Whitelock (Crusaders), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes), Jerome Kaino (Blues), Kieran Read (captain, Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), Liam Squire (Highlanders), Matt Todd (Crusaders)

Backs

Tawera Kerr-Barlow (Chiefs), TJ Perenara (Hurricanes), Aaron Smith (Highlanders), Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders), Ryan Crotty (Crusaders), Jack Goodhue (Crusaders), Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs), Sonny Bill Williams (Blues), David Havili (Crusaders), Matt Duffie (Blues), Rieko Ioane (Blues), Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), Waisake Naholo (Highlanders), Seta Tamanivalu (Crusaders)

Itinerary:

November 4: v Barbarians at Twickenham

November 11: v France in Paris

November 14: v French XV at Lyon

November 18: v Scotland at Edinburgh

November 25: v Wales at Cardiff

Read more on:    all blacks  |  matt duffie  |  rugby
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