Brad Shields has finally received an All Blacks jersey – but not in the way he might have thought.
After spending seven seasons with the Hurricanes and not being able to crack the national side, Shields shifted north to England – the country where both his parents were born – to chase his dream of playing international rugby, leaving any hopes of wearing the black jersey behind.
But after facing the country he represented at Under 20 level for the first time on Saturday – the All Blacks defeated England 16-15 at Twickenham – Shields managed to finally get his hands on an All Blacks jersey thanks to an old friend.
Shields and his former Hurricanes teammate Dane Coles swapped jerseys after the clash before posting identical pictures on social media to mark the ‘weird’ occasion.
View this post on Instagram
“Who would have thought.! Cheers bro for the swapsies. Such an honour to play against you mate,” Shields wrote on Instagram.
Coles shared Shield’s sentiment, writing “Huge battle against the English. Weird but huge honour to play against my mate” on his own post.
Wasps loose forward Shields made his test debut for England while still based in New Zealand, appearing during their June international series against South Africa after gaining dispensation to play.
Shields unfortunately had to leave Saturday’s match early to undergo a head injury assessment, but had been part of a staunch English defence during his stint on field.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.