Clever owes debt to New Zealand

Date published: October 31 2014

481353167_3223268

USA captain Todd Clever has revealed that he owes all of his success in his rugby career to playing in New Zealand.

USA captain Todd Clever has revealed that he owes all of his success in his rugby career to playing in New Zealand.

Winning a contract with North Harbour in 2005, when he played alongside Jerome Kaino, kickstarted Clever’s playing time at the top with stints at the Golden Lions and in Japan to follow.

The inspirational American captain has played in the last two Rugby World Cups on his way to winning 59 caps.

“New Zealand has a special place in my heart, because I owe all my rugby success to that nation,” Clever told The Guardian.

“It was a great experience when I was so young, to play there at so high a level. I’ve heard from most of my friends down there this week, funnily enough.

“I’d hoped I would come up against Jerome [Kaino] on Saturday. He’s a friend and I totally respect him as a rugby player.”

Despite the All Blacks number one world ranking, Clever insists his team are not daunted by the prospect of facing the world champions.

The national TV exposure and a 61,000 sellout crowd at Chicago’s Soldier Field will make the match a special occasion regardless of the result.

“We’re facing the world champs but we want to show our ability to play rugby and that we’re not scared. You want to have that crowd cheer for something.

“It’s a great occasion, and we’ve got to rise to it. I have no doubt the players we put on the field will do so.

“It’s great to have the American public get behind rugby and with NBC picking up the game to show live everybody’s really pumped to see the All Blacks, to be part of it.”

COMMENTS