Crusaders confirm 2016 No 10s
Cape Town - Marty McKenzie, Ben Volavola and Richie Mo’unga will compete for the starting No 10 spot at the Crusaders next season after the Crusaders have confirmed the three new signings for 2016 to replace the departing Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor.
According to the allblacks.com website, Maori
All Black Marty McKenzie will move south from the Chiefs, returning to
the city where he spent the final two years of secondary school.
and raised in Southland, McKenzie moved from Gore High School to
Christchurch’s Christ’s College for years 12 and 13 and played in their
first XV for both seasons. He then returned south to make his ITM Cup
debut for Southland in 2011.
In 2013 he was contracted by the Blues; in
2014 he made the New Zealand Sevens team and helped Taranaki to their
ITM Cup Premiership title; and in 2015 he joined his brother, Damien, at
Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said 2016 will be an
opportunity for McKenzie to stamp his mark at the Crusaders.
of Marty’s strengths is his versatility, with the ability to play
almost anywhere in the backline as well as kick goals. We see him
primarily as a first five and know that he is keen to get more playing
time in that position. He was outstanding at first five for Taranaki
last season and, at just 22 years of age, there is plenty of untapped
potential in him yet,” Blackadder said.
McKenzie and Mo’unga will
be team-mates in 2016, but were playing first XV rugby against each
other just five years ago. Mo’unga has been contracted to the full
squad after spending a season developing his trade in the Crusaders
Wider Training Group. Blackadder said Mo’unga has been in the Crusaders’
sights for a while now and is ready to make the step up.
been watching Richie develop since he was representing St Andrew’s
College in the Crusaders region secondary schools competition. It was
clear then and it still is now that he is a special talent and we look
forward to helping him continue to grow his game and build his
experience,” Blackadder said.
Volavola is moving from the
Waratahs to join the Crusaders next season. Blackadder said assistant
coach Tabai Matson had suggested the Australian-born Fijian would be a
valuable addition to the squad, as an athletic first-five with
impressive pace and a handy kick.
“We are excited about the
potential we can see in Ben. He has all of the makings of a great player
and is itching to get some more game time to show what he’s got. Ben
is in Fiji at the moment training alongside Nemani Nadolo to try and
earn a spot in the Fijian Flyers Rugby World Cup squad, so he will have
at least one familiar face here when he joins us next year and we are
sure he’s going to fit into our environment really well,” Blackadder