McKenzie excited for future with the Chiefs

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The All Blacks have a high-performed contender for the first five-eighths position, while the Chiefs have a player who still wants to win a DHL Super Rugby Pacific title for his home away from home.

Playing for another Super Rugby team was never a consideration because he felt he owed much to the Chiefs and their catchment.

He said there was also a possibility he would stay beyond the end of his contract after 2025. Already the side's highest points scorer with 984 points, including another century in a season achieved in Saturday's 34-24 win over the Crusaders at the weekend, he also joined the side's centurions this season.

In making his decision, McKenzie eyed the opportunity at first five-eighths for the All Blacks after the Rugby World Cup when Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett were off the scene.

"It's a little bit more enticing when there's more opportunity there with players leaving.

"Richie and Baz have set the benchmark there for years, so it's been great learning from them, and it'd be great to step into that role.

"You can't forget Stevie [Perofeta] as well…I've got to earn my way back into an All Blacks' spot, and, hopefully, I can do that this year."

"I always back myself to play good rugby, and hopefully get back into the All Blacks team, but it might have been a different decision if those boys were around, I'm not sure."

McKenzie said the final decision was easy to make, but reaching that point was tough because he enjoyed playing for Suntory, who finished second with him being the competition's highest scorer. And there was always the incentive of the healthy pay packet.

He said he had not closed the door to play there again later in his career.

Last year's stint in Japan rejuvenated him, and having watched the Chiefs from afar, he realized how much he missed playing for the side.

He has enjoyed 2023 and was excited that the playing group would be together for the next few years.

The Chiefs take on the Highlanders on Friday 5 May, 7.05pm, at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Get your TICKETS HERE.


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