All Black pivot re-signs
NEWS: Brilliant playmaker Damian McKenzie has recommitted to the All Blacks and the Chiefs for another two years merely hours after piloting the latter to an epic Super Rugby Pacific win over the Crusaders.
McKenzie not only won his much-anticipated battle of the world-class number tens against Richie Mo’unga, but a pivotal Super Rugby contest against the Crusaders to preserve their nine-match unbeaten record in 2023.
The 28-year-old has shown how much success in New Zealand means to him with this renewed commitment.
“I’m grateful to be able to continue my career here in New Zealand with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby for the next two years,” said McKenzie.
“The Gallagher Chiefs have given me endless opportunities, so to sign on with this great club was a no-brainer. I love being able to represent this proud region and will continue to do so. We’ve got a great playing group sticking around so the next few years are going to be really exciting.”
Having played 40 All Blacks Tests, predominantly at fullback, McKenzie also adds depth for national selectors at first five-eighths. Playing in the No.10 jersey for the Gallagher Chiefs, he is the leading points-scorer (105) in the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.
“I am delighted that Damian has committed to growing his game further here in New Zealand,” said All Blacks coach Ian Foster. “He is an exciting player and his best is yet to come. Great news.”
NZR CEO Mark Robinson added: “This is another key All Black signing, adding to the impressive group of players that will take us into the future. Damian has all the qualities you could ask for in an All Black and we look forward to seeing him evolve even more in our game.”
McKenzie was instrumental as the Gallagher Chiefs equalled the franchise’s longest-ever winning streak (9-0) in Hamilton on Saturday. The Invercargill-born playmaker kicked 17 points in a 34-24 win over the defending champion Crusaders.
“It’s fantastic that Damian has recommitted to the Chiefs Rugby Club and New Zealand Rugby,” said Gallagher Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan. His talent is undeniable and everyone from sponsors, fans, players and management benefits when players of his calibre remain in New Zealand.
“Our loyal Gallagher Chiefs fans adore him and we are a better rugby team because of him. Rugby aside – he is a genuinely good man, humble and very giving of his time.”
McKenzie will continue to be aligned with Waikato in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC, where he sits seventh on the province’s list of all-time scorers (435).
“It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Damian McKenzie will continue to be involved for Waikato for the next two seasons,” said Waikato Rugby CEO Carl Moon. “McKenzie is a world-class player, possessing an incredible range of skills, vision and is a true game-changer – so it was a priority to retain a player of his calibre.