Versatile McKenzie like a 'fly in a bottle'

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 12:16

REACTION: Damian McKenzie's unpredictable nature and his versatility on the field for the All Blacks in their 25-24 win over the Springboks at Newlands has brought a smile to head coach Steve Hansen's face.

McKenzie showed how dangerous he could be in open space when he scored a great try in the 69th minute, which proved to be decisive in the end.

At that stage of the game, 22-year-old had already shifted from fullback to the wing after Nehe Milner-Skudder left the field with a dislocated shoulder earlier in the game.

McKenzie also quite frequently popped up in the flyhalf channel as the first receiver and gave the Boks a few headaches on defence with his nifty footwork 

"You need people that can bust open a game and he is a little bit like a fly in a bottle, old Damian," said Hansen. "He is all over the place. 

"Sometimes it comes off and other times he is sitting on the side of the bottle. He is getting better at it though as he understands what Test rugby is about, which is really pleasing and I thought he was pretty good tonight [Saturday]. 

"He was really assured in most of the things he was doing and there have been times where I don't think he knows what he is going to do, he just does it. 

"I think he was really calculated in most of the things he did. He is growing all the time. 

"I am on record as saying he is probably going to be a better No.10 than a No.15. He is starting to tell me that might not be right but we will wait and see."

Mckenzie probably had to agree with his coach's assessment of his style of play, especially after his performance at Newlands. 

"He is probably not wrong to be fair," said McKenzie.

"Sometimes I spend more time running backwards than I do forwards so it was good to be playing out there tonight and to get a try in an afternoon game was awesome so I am happy with the performance anyway."

While Hansen will be wanting to see McKenzie more in the flyhalf spot, the young star is just happy to play wherever he his need.

"I am happy to play wherever they put me. 

"Fullback and wing got their similarities about them, so its wherever they need me to go. I am happy to go anywhere," he said.

By Warren Fortune

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0