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All Black McKenzie joins Suntory Sungoliath in Japan

McKenzie follows in the footsteps of fellow All Black Beauden Barrett who had a six-month sabbatical with Sungoliath last season.

Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs and New Zealand.
Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs and New Zealand.
Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

ALL BLACKS FULL-BACK Damian McKenzie will leave the New Zealand Chiefs franchise, based in Hamilton, to join Suntory Sungoliath in Japan, the Japanese franchise announced on Monday.

Fuchu-based Suntory Sungoliath did not specify when McKenzie, who has been with the Chiefs since 2015, will return to New Zealand.

Since making his Test debut in 2016, McKenzie has collected 40 caps for the All Blacks, most recently as a late replacement for out-half Richie Mo’unga in Saturday’s 40-25 defeat by France in Paris.

“I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and contribute to the Sungoliath culture as well as engaging with the Japanese fans,” said the 26-year-old in a statement.

“I love attacking rugby and I really look forward to playing an exciting brand of rugby.”

McKenzie follows in the footsteps of fellow All Black Beauden Barrett who had a six-month sabbatical with Sungoliath last season.

The two-time world player of the year will play for Auckland in the new Super Rugby season which kicks off in February.

© – AFP, 2021

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