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Brumbies sign Australian-qualified Hawke's Bay and NZ sevens star

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

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The Brumbies have signed Hawke’s Bay and All Blacks Sevens star Ollie Sapsford on a two-year deal that will keep him in Canberra until 2023.

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Sapsford, a 26-year-old utility back capable of playing at centre or on the wing, has made a name for himself with the All Blacks Sevens side and for Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand’s NPC.

After having previously played for Mid Canterbury in the Heartland Championship five years ago, the former Australian rules footballer made his debut for Hawke’s Bay in 2019 and has been a standout for the Magpies this season.

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With six appearances to his name for the Magpies in 2021, Sapsford produced his performance of the season last weekend with a hat-trick in his side’s 40-31 victory over Manawatu in Palmerston North.

That bodes well for Australian national selectors given Sapsford is qualified to represent the Wallabies through his family.

In saying that, he has opted for New Zealand in the realm of sevens, having been involved in the All Blacks Sevens set-up in recent years, and was selected as a non-travelling reserve for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Nevertheless, Sapsford said he is excited about joining the Brumbies and moving to Australia in what will be his first foray into Super Rugby.

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“I’m really excited to be joining the Brumbies. Having the chance to play Super Rugby and to work in a program that has the reputation the Brumbies has was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” he said via a statement.

“I’ve had a pretty different route to the top level but having these next two years to improve and show I belong is something I’m grateful for and I’m now just so keen to get to Canberra after the NPC is finished and get to know the coaches and my teammates.”

Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar is eager to see what Sapsford can offer at GIO Stadium after having been impressed by his athleticism at provincial level in New Zealand.

“Ollie will be a good addition to our group for at least these next couple of years. He’s a really good athlete and is really hungry to get his crack at Super Rugby level,” McKellar said.

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“He’s made the jump from club rugby to NPC well and we think with time in our program, he’s certainly got the talent to kick on further.

“The coaching staff are all looking forward to working with Ollie and from all accounts, he’s a good young man who’s excited to come over and make that Super Rugby dream a reality.”

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