Damian McKenzie becomes latest star to pen new NZR deal

Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie has become the latest All Black that the NZR have nailed down with a new deal.

McKenzie lead the Chiefs to their ninth successive win of the season, against the Crusaders, and just 24 hours later has penned a new contract with the Chiefs and NZR.

“I’m grateful to be able to continue my career here in New Zealand with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby for the next two years,” said McKenzie.

“The Gallagher Chiefs have given me endless opportunities, so to sign on with this great club was a no-brainer. I love being able to represent this proud region and will continue to do so. We’ve got a great playing group sticking around so the next few years are going to be really exciting.”

Although most of his All Blacks Test caps have come at 15, the statement was at pains to point out that he adds depth at 10, where he is currently playing in Super Rugby Pacific.

“I am delighted that Damian has committed to growing his game further here in New Zealand,” said All Blacks coach Ian Foster. “He is an exciting player and his best is yet to come. Great news.”

NZR CEO Mark Robinson added: “This is another key All Black signing, adding to the impressive group of players that will take us into the future. Damian has all the qualities you could ask for in an All Black and we look forward to seeing him evolve even more in our game.”

The Chiefs are also stoked about the signing, which comes despite interest from overseas suitors.

“It’s fantastic that Damian has recommitted to the Chiefs Rugby Club and New Zealand Rugby,” said Gallagher Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan. His talent is undeniable and everyone from sponsors, fans, players and management benefits when players of his calibre remain in New Zealand.

“Our loyal Gallagher Chiefs fans adore him and we are a better rugby team because of him. Rugby aside – he is a genuinely good man, humble and very giving of his time.”