Damian McKenzie re-signs with New Zealand Rugby on three-year deal

  • 09/03/2018

All Blacks and Chiefs livewire Damian McKenzie has extended his stay in New Zealand through to the end of 2021.          

The 22-year-old, capable of playing fullback or first five-eighth, played 10 Tests in 2017 after the sabbatical of first-choice No.15 Ben Smith.            

He's played 12 Tests in total since his 2016 debut against Argentina and has made a number of appearances for the Maori All Blacks.            

The Invercargill-born, Waikato-based playmaker is now set to hang around past the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is pleased to extend his deal.         

"My time in the Chiefs jersey has been awesome to date, and the support I've been given during my time in Chiefs country has been amazing," McKenzie said.        

"I've had an awesome opportunity to be able to sign on with New Zealand Rugby and hopefully keep achieving higher honours in the future."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who has declared his preference for McKenzie at first-five in the past, is also pleased to seal the deal.

He'd be an important option in the Test set-up - alongside the likes of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga - heading into the 2019 pinnacle event in Japan.            

"He grew in stature in his time in the jersey (in 2017), developing his skill- set and his game - that experience will put him in good stead for the future and we look forward to watching him develop further," Hansen said.

NZN