Todd knows what it means to enjoy his sport

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All Blacks and Crusaders flanker Matt Todd was in no doubt what he expected to see from Tonga when they take on New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday.

 

He said he expected Tonga would bring physicality to the Test and if you didn't get tackles on them right, they slipped one player then two behind you and caused problems.

 

"The physicality factor is going to be massive," he said.

 

"They showed at the weekend - their maul – they scored a couple of maul tries quite nicely so that's going to be an area that's going to test us and something we are going to have to get right looking forward, so it's going to be a good hit out.

 

"It's another opportunity for us to grow our game, it's slowly growing and we're back together this week and we're back out there today and everyone is getting back on the same page," he said.

 

But another message Todd got out backed New Zealand Rugby's involvement in the campaign to make sport more enjoyable for young children whatever the game was.

 

Todd is living proof of how essential enjoying his rugby had allowed him to maintain his enthusiasm for a game in spite of some of the setbacks he had suffered.

 

He had been unlucky to have to play second fiddle to one of the greats of the game in Richie McCaw during his early years, but his perseverance had been rewarded with his inclusion in the World Cup side this year.

 

It was important to enjoy sport, he said.

 

"At that younger age it is about enjoying it. That's why you play sport because your mates are doing it.

 

"If you're good enough and you go along that real competitiveness comes but it is crucial to be in sport, playing sport, whatever it is. The more sports you can be involved in at those younger ages, the better it is for your development in all areas," he said.

 

"But you lose kids [to sports] because it gets too serious, too early, you're missing out on a massive part, particularly in New Zealand. We're so fortunate to have such great access to so many sports, so easily, I think it is a shame we lose kids too early because it is all about winning and being competitive.

 

"At that age it is about trying new sports, getting involved and staying involved in them."

 

Todd said he played all sorts of sports when younger: basketball, cricket, tennis as well as rugby.

 

He said young people should play as many sports as they could get their hands on at a younger age.

 

Halfback Aaron Smith said he was the same as a youngster. He played anything he could.

 

"I wasn't a bookworm so it was anything for me. I always say to kids 'any sport, play it, find out and adapt to what your body gives you the opportunity to do'.

 

"The opportunities out there are awesome, as Toddy said and [there's] a lot more variation in sport.

 

With social media now, children could learn how to play any sport, they could get equipment from anywhere off the internet, he said.

 

"And being part of a team is just a great thing we don't want kids to miss out on," he said.

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