Damien McKenzie aiming for the top
While super rugby kicks off in less than a month, today some of the competition's top players were in Auckland filming promotions.
Damien McKenzie of Tūwharetoa descent is looking to shrug off the 'young gun' tag this season and cement himself as one of the best in the competition.
And he's hoping to be just as comfortable in his new position at the Chiefs.
“I think the opportunity to be able to play a bit of 10...Obviously, it's a similar skill set to 15 but you're running the ship a bit more and you're controlling the team. So you know it's really exciting and I'm looking forward to that.”
McKenzie earned 12 caps in the black jersey last year, an experience he says he will never forget.
“Obviously with more game time, it gave a bit more confidence. I was lucky to get some regular game time at 15 for myself and for my confidence and the experience that's done a lot for me. Obviously, moving forward it's trying to keep building and moving up the steps.”
Lima Sopaga has just signed a contract to a club in the Northern Hemisphere leaving a space in the All Black first fives but McKenzie understands, he can’t go counting his chickens just yet, there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Just being yourself, playing your game, and I guess at 10 you need to be a bit more cool-headed and be a bit more smarter than what you do compared to 15 where you can take a risk here and there. It's going to be a good year…a couple of seasons under my belt; it's trying to be a leader to the younger guys coming through.”
The 2018 Super season kicks off on the 17th of February.