Macilai extends Crusaders stay

Date published: July 21 2016

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The Crusaders have announced that speedy winger Jone Macilai has recommitted to the Christchurch outfit for another two years.

Macilai learned his trade playing Sevens in Fiji. It was while playing for the Red Rocks Rugby Club in the Coral Coast Sevens competition in 2012 that he was spotted by Northland scouts and moved to New Zealand to play for the Awanui Rugby Club, helping them to win that year’s club title.

He made his national provincial debut for Northland in 2013, and in the 2014 season he gained the third highest number of clean breaks and metres gained of any player in the competition. That was enough to grab the attention of the Crusaders selectors, who named him in their squad for 2015.

Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder said Macilai has developed well this year and has quickly become an integral part of the team.

“Jone had a rocky start to his time as a Crusader, breaking his arm in a pre-season match in 2015 which delayed his debut until the thirteenth round of the competition,” he told the Crusaders’ official website.

“This season he has seen a lot more opportunities and created selection headaches as we have tried to balance our wing resources.

“We have seen him realise the potential we knew he had and his speed, ability to break defences and his finishing have been a key contribution to the season.

“It has been great to see Jone sieze his opportunities this year.  With both Jonny McNicholl and Nemani Nadolo heading away at the end of this season, Jone’s commitment is a crucial part in ensuring the Crusaders have a strong squad heading into next year.”

Macilai said he was excited to be recommitting to the team that had introduced him to Super Rugby.

“I am having such a good time here and getting the opportunity to keep developing my game,” he revealed.

“It is awesome to think I will have at least another two years with this team.”

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