Crusaders wing off to Wales
Cape Town - Welsh PRO12 side Scarlets have secured the
signature of Crusaders wing Johnny McNicholl on a two-and-half-year deal.
McNicholl, 25, will be moving to the PRO12 side at the end
of the Super Rugby season.
The Cashmere High product admits that he will miss the
Crusaders but has expressed his excitement at the new challenges that awaits
The wing has only played for the Crusaders since making his
professional debut in 2013.
"This is a great opportunity to experience living and
playing in a different part of the world,” McNicholl told SuperXV.
“I am at a stage in my life that I would like to do some
more travel while I don’t have family commitments back in New Zealand, and I am
so fortunate to be able to do that with my rugby career."
"The Scarlets club appeals because they are a
successful team that plays a similar brand of rugby to the Crusaders, and
working under a Kiwi coach in Wayne Pivac will make that transition easier.
"Leaving the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby will be
extremely hard though because they are both teams that I love and feel
incredibly privileged to have played for.
"I grew up in Christchurch and these were the teams
that I always aspired to be a part of, so I am very grateful to have had that
"I will definitely miss my team-mates and the whole team
culture here, but I’ll be the biggest Crusaders and Canterbury supporter living
Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder admits that McNicholl
is at the top of his game and is highly rated, not only amongst the coaching
staff but also his peers.
"Johnny is a rare talent," Blackadder said.
"His speed and ability to break through tackles has
never been on better display than in the last couple of games, and we are
loving seeing Johnny back to his best after a frustrating run with injuries
over recent years.
"He is a superb team man who is much respected by all
of those who have had the pleasure of working and playing with him.
"We will miss him but look forward to a fantastic final
season with him."