Ennor keen to take starting opportunity

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Unable to get the playing base provided during the Super Rugby season, Ennor has been playing catch-up to a large extent but has been grateful to have the chance.


He said, "I haven't played a lot of rugby this year, not just international, as I only got a couple of games at the end of Super Rugby, and then I had my appendix issues and missed a few potential minutes there back in New Zealand.


"It's been awesome to get some runs on the park, even minutes in training, building partnerships and getting to know the All Blacks' style of rugby has been good," he said.


"Against USA Fozzie had a word with me before the game and just said, 'go out there, I don't care if you make mistakes but just be yourself and try and create some things."


That had the effect of taking the weight of expectation from the shoulders.

The frustrations caused by injury and illness were all part of the game, and few players escaped them at some stage of their careers. But Ennor's situation with his knee injury was compounded as the result of an ACL injury in his other knee when at school. And then, when having completed rehabilitation and getting back into action, his appendix issue developed.


However, the road back from that was made easier by wing George Bridge having gone through the same thing a little earlier while the Crusaders' doctor had been through it just before Bridge.


"It's all about keeping a clear mind and focusing on where you want to end up. There were times when I felt pretty awful about myself. I lost a lot of weight through not being able to eat properly. I kept my mind on where I wanted to end up and that was here with the All Blacks so I'm grateful where I've ended up," he said.


Ennor said he and Tupaea enjoyed their run against the US Eagles and had trained together since then.


"We're getting to know each other's style of play so we're really looking forward to it," he said.

"Any opportunity in the black jersey is pretty special, and guys like Quinn and myself haven't had a run for a while, so we get this time to show what we've got. We're pretty keen and excited.


"I see myself as a centre but through my career it's been made clear my skills sets similarly suit the wing as well. It's all strings to my bow and if it keeps me in this squad and gets me minutes on the field I'm happy to play there."


"It's pretty special. As a group, we're pretty lucky to get out of the country and play some footy. There is the downside to missing family and restrictions about staying around the hotel and not being able to see too many sites. But, I think we're lucky to be able to go round and get minutes under my belt and get to know the lads and the team environment.


"It's made me aware of where I need to be day to day, not just in this environment but back in Christchurch with the Crusaders so it's a big learning curve for me," he said.


Checking out the Italian side revealed they had a quality midfield. How the All Blacks pair dealt with that would depend on what Italy brought.


"We've got plans around different things they might bring so we're looking forward to maybe throwing the pigskin around and playing some footy," he said.


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