Segner relishing his time with the Blues

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His background growing up in Frankfurt had prepared him well for the transition from Nelson to Auckland. His earlier exposure to New Zealand coaches in Germany had ensured no difficulties in language.

Segner, 20, said Auckland might be a bigger city than Nelson, but the adjustment had been easy. The Blues had been welcoming, and he already felt a sense of belonging.

"It's not overwhelming, but definitely exciting because there are a lot of changes; going into a new city, coming into a completely new team. But when the opportunity arose, I took it with open arms.

"All the challenges that lie ahead of me, I'm looking forward to them and see them all as an opportunity," he said.

If the chance comes for game time with the Blues, he wants to be in the position to make the most of what he has absorbed to advance his game.

Since transferring to Nelson as a schoolboy to learn the game, his progress through the ranks has been impressive.

"It's moving extremely fast but I'm loving it because it keeps me on my toes and it keeps me wanting to get better," he said.

While he's secured a space with the Blues, he had earlier exposure to Super Rugby demands. That was when training in pre-season with the Crusaders ahead of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

He realised the opportunity he had to learn from All Blacks like Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane and Hoskins Sotutu and was looking forward to working with them.

He was also extending his relationship with coach Leon MacDonald who he first met at Tasman training in MacDonald's last season in the role.

One of the features of training with the Blues has been the focus on contact, and he enjoyed that element of preparation.

Auckland's heat was also different to anything he had experienced.

"My main work-on is trying to stay on top of the sun screen because the sun out here is blazing, but I'm easing into it because the hottest days are yet to come," he said.

Segner is keen to take his rugby as far as he can. He hopes that what he achieves in New Zealand can help the game back in Germany.

But at the same time, he shares the aspiration of every local of aiming at securing a black jersey to go one better than the New Zealand Under-20 jersey he secured last year.


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