The Chiefs have a lot to be happy about at the moment after they snapped their losing streak and drew 23-23 with the Hurricanes on Friday. Of course, it was not a win, but it was a step in the right direction, particularly against a team that are in good form.
Colin Cooper’s men were yet to win in Super Rugby this year after four matches, and changes were therefore needed going into the clash in Hamilton.
One particular change that paid off handsomely, and has pleased many fans on Twitter, was moving Damian McKenzie back to fullback. After missing the first game of the season, the All Black had started the past three games at fly-half with not a huge amount of success.
The 23-year-old had come under some criticism after his performance, as he was deprived of the space to show what he can do with ball in hand. His positional change allowed him to join the line further out wide, giving him more space and making him much more threatening. His try in the first half showed why he must play at fullback, as he was able to support Tumua Manu after his break, and race in for a brilliant finish.
He ended the match with 18 points overall, including an enormous penalty to tie the contest. In light of his performance, a lot of fans are celebrating McKenzie’s return to form:
Damian McKenzie showing he’s a 15 and not a 10 #CHIvHUR
— Liam Harris (@LiamHarris10) March 15, 2019
It’s actually crazy to think how much better the Chiefs are when Damian McKenzie plays fullback. Transforms the entire team ????
— Brandon Lee Portnoy (@BrandoPortnoy) March 15, 2019
Damian McKenzie back at fullback ??#CHIvHUR
— Ian (Jefe) (@WuodAdhiambo_) March 15, 2019
— Allen Stroebel (@AllenStroebel) March 15, 2019
Damien McKenzie must remain at fullback!
— Mbuyiseli (@Lwazi_Somya) March 15, 2019
Amazing what can happen when you have McKenzie at Fullback. How fucking stupid are the coaching staff to have him in flyhalf for so fucking long!!!! #CHIvHUR
— Quadzilla (@76erscuts) March 15, 2019
McKenzie very dangerous from the back. Fullback is his best position.
— Kobus (@BulletjieKobus) March 15, 2019
Damian McKenzie at fullback ??
— Athi (@aahhtee) March 15, 2019
This will be pleasing to see for All Blacks and Chiefs fans, as there is really no debate in which position is McKenzie’s best. He’s never really been considered as a 10 to Steve Hansen, particularly with the likes of Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga ahead of him, and has always been utilised as a fullback when playing in black.
McKenzie is one of the Chiefs’ best players, and it makes sense that he should be playing in the position where he is most dangerous, and he proved that against the Hurricanes.
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