McKenzie keen to make most of opportunity at fullback

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Gore-born McKenzie told media on Monday, it was always exciting to play under the roof.

 

"It's obviously a bit cold out there at the moment, but playing under the roof offers up some attacking rugby," he said.

 

Given the thumbs up by All Blacks coach Ian Foster for the way he had adapted his game at fullback to have more considered influence in the playmaking role, McKenzie said he was happy to play either fullback or first five-eighths.

 

Whether in either position, the skills were similar, and he was happy to keep pushing Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett for the first five-eighths role.

 

"Being able to jump into first receiver is great, but staying out wide is awesome as I have a bit more space. Coaches have given us the licence to be free about that, and I enjoy that aspect of the game," he said.

 

Whether he gets the chance to do that against Fiji will be made public later in the week as Jordie Barrett and Will Jordan are also potential starters in the fullback position.

 

"It's always great to create that competitive environment. We're all pushing each other, and that's healthy. It gets the best out of everyone, and it's the way to improve as a team.

 

 

"If you get the opportunity, you have to make the most of it," he said.

 

Against Fiji, that would require being more clinical on attack.

 

"We did some great stuff at the weekend, and scored some really good tries, but we're always trying to get better. There are areas in our game where we can do that in our attack and 'D' [defence]. We've talked a little about that this morning," he said.

 

McKenzie said another Gore product, prop Ethan de Groot, would possibly have a chance to make his Test debut at the weekend and said they had played together at under-48kg level in Gore.

 

"It's great to see him come through the system in Southland. His work and his attention to detail have been great. If he gets an opportunity in his home region, it will be great," he said.

 

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