LIVE

    Cult hero Donald set for Super Rugby return

    2019-02-11 08:36

    Wellington - Flyhalf Stephen Donald will return to Super Rugby at the grand old age of 35, more than seven years after he gained cult status by kicking New Zealand to victory in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, the Chiefs announced on Monday.

    Donald, nicknamed Beaver, was a late addition to the Chiefs squad after young pivot Tiaan Falcon ruptured an Achilles tendon, coach Colin Cooper said.

    "He is a good conductor of the game and will deliver for the team when provided the opportunity," Cooper said of Donald, who was New Zealand's fourth-choice flyhalf in 2011 but became an unlikely hero.

    Donald was on the outer with the All Blacks before the 2011 World Cup after being blamed for a loss to Australia the previous year, and decided to go fishing rather than watch the tournament.

    But after injuries to Dan Carter and Colin Slade he received a late call-up, which he initially ignored believing it was a prank.

    When Aaron Cruden limped off early in the final against France, Donald took to the field, bursting out of a spare shirt belonging to the diminutive Cruden because he had none of his own.

    He kicked a wobbly penalty early in the second half which was enough to give New Zealand a tense 8-7 victory and end a 24-year drought for the host nation.

    It was his last international and he went on to play with Bath in England before making a temporary return to the Chiefs, captaining them to a win over Warren Gatland's touring Wales side in 2016.

    However, Donald, who has since had stints with three clubs in Japan, will not be the oldest player to take the field in Super Rugby if he does get a game in his latest comeback with the Chiefs. 

    That honour belongs to tough-as-teak lock Brad Thorn, now coaching the Reds, who was still playing regularly for Highlanders at 39.

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights

    Fixtures

    Friday, 22 February 2019
    • Highlanders v Reds, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    Saturday, 23 February 2019
    • Sunwolves v Waratahs, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Hurricanes, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Brumbies v Chiefs, GIO Stadium 10:45
    • Sharks v Blues, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 15:05
    • Stormers v Lions, Cape Town 17:15
    • Jaguares v Bulls, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    Friday, 01 March 2019
    • Hurricanes v Brumbies, Westpac Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Highlanders, AAMI Park 10:45

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Bulls (Q)
    • Sharks (WC)
    • Lions (wc)
    • Jaguares
    • Stormers

    Opinion Poll

    Which of the 4 South African team will finish with the fewest Super Rugby SA Conference points?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.