Chiefs impressed by McKenzie

Date published: December 15 2014

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has been impressed by what he’s seen from young prospect Damian McKenzie in pre-season.

McKenzie starred for the New Zealand U20 side earlier this year in the IRB Junior World Championship, before appearing for Waikato in the ITM Cup.

Still just 19, McKenzie will be going up against All Blacks star Aaron Cruden for the fly-half role but can also operate at full-back.

Rennie revealed that McKenzie was working hard to add some extra muscle, but also noted his qualities.

“He’s a pretty impressive young character, but there’s areas of his game he’s got to develop that he’s aware of, and he’s working hard in those areas,” Rennie told the Waikato Times.

“He’s working hard to put on a little bit of muscle mass, just to help deal with the physical nature of the game.

“There will be a lot of big guys running down his channel, so he’s certainly working on the defensive side of things.

He’s very quick, got great footwork, and he’ll stress defences.

“We’ve got that with all our 10 options, which means you can’t try and put big numbers on our midfielders, you’ve got to defend out 10s as well which will hopefully leave space for the others.”