Planet Rugby

Ngatai leaves Wellington for Taranaki

19th December 2013 07:29


Charlie Ngatai Maori ABs 2013

Charlie Ngatai: Penned a two-year deal

Chiefs and New Zealand Maori utility back Charlie Ngatai has joined Taranaki from Wellington on a two-year deal.

Ngatai was keenly pursued by several provinces but he said it was the lure of a new challenge and the opportunity to learn more from Maori All Blacks boss Colin Cooper, who is also the head coach at Taranaki, which prompted him to sign with the amber and blacks.

"I have played all my ITM Cup rugby so far with Wellington and I've really enjoyed it, however when I heard that Taranaki was keen to have me I thought it was a great opportunity to experience a new environment and challenge myself," said Ngatai.

"Also I got to work with Coops during my time with the Maori All Blacks recently and the tour was great so being able to continue developing as a player under his guidance in Taranaki was definitely a driver. I'm pretty excited to get up there to the Naki and throw myself into it."

Cooper was thrilled to add Ngatai to Taranaki's playing roster for 2014.

"We are very pleased to have Charlie on board for 2014," he said.

"He is a quality player, a current Maori All Black and he has the makings of a future All Black.

"Charlie fills the void which was created by the departure of Jayden Hayward.

"Our younger players will definitely benefit from having someone with his level of experience at ITM Cup level and beyond to learn from.

"He's an explosive, exciting player and we're rapt to have him for next season."

Taranaki Rugby CEO Mike Collins believes Ngatai is an important signing for the province.

"I've watched Charlie over a number of years and followed his career to date with interest," he said.

"He has certainly fulfilled the promise he showed as a top school boy rugby player."

Ngatai made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in 2011, playing two seasons with the side before shifting north to enjoy a strong season with the Chiefs in 2013.

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