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Former All Blacks playmaker Brett Cameron signs with Japanese club

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks playmaker Brett Cameron has called time on his career in New Zealand by signing a deal to join Japanese club Kamaishi Seawaves next year.

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Kamaishi Seawaves confirmed their signing of the 24-year-old first-five on Thursday in a move that, for the time being, brings an end to Cameron’s five-season professional spell in New Zealand.

“I’m very excited to sign with Kamaishi Seawaves,” Cameron said via a statement on the club’s website.

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Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith named to start for the All Blacks against Fiji

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Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith named to start for the All Blacks against Fiji

“I am looking forward to a new challenge playing rugby in Japan for a team with a proud rugby history, and to be involved in a proud community that has a big love for the game.”

The move abroad comes after Cameron failed to make a single appearance for the Crusaders this season as incumbent pivot Richie Mo’unga and promising youngster Fergus Burke were preferred in the match day side.

That lack of playing time saw Cameron linked with a move to the Hurricanes, who are in the market for an experienced first-five to accompany youngsters Ruben Love and Aidan Morgan in their 2022 squad, but no such move eventuated.

Cameron’s decision to leave the Crusaders brings and end to a five-year affiliation with the reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions, which began in 2016 when he first turned out for the franchise’s development side, the Crusaders Knights.

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After going on to make his first-class debut with Canterbury in their title-winning 2017 season, Cameron was called into the senior Crusaders squad to make his Super Rugby debut off the bench against the Bulls in March 2018.

A strong provincial campaign for Canterbury that year led to Cameron’s surprise inclusion in the All Blacks’ end-of-year tour squad to Japan.

With only two dozen first-class appearances for the Crusaders and Canterbury, Cameron made his test debut when he came off the bench in New Zealand’s 69-31 victory over the Brave Blossoms in Tokyo in November 2018.

The following year, Cameron earned himself a full contract with the Crusaders as he went on to play in five matches as the Christchurch-based outfit claimed their third straight Super Rugby crown.

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Cameron played a further seven games for the Crusaders in last year’s COVID-19-disrupted season, with his final outing for the club coming in their Super Rugby Aotearoa title-winning 32-22 victory over the Highlanders in Christchurch.

Cameron leaves the Crusaders with 13 appearances, two Super Rugby titles, two Super Rugby Aotearoa championships and one test cap to his name.

Cameron isn’t completely lost to New Zealand rugby just yet, though, as it was announced in February that he had signed a deal to play for Manawatu in this year’s NPC, which kicks-off next month.

Formed in 2001, the Kamaishi Seawaves competed in Japan’s second-tier Top Challenge League this season, where they finished in fifth place and missed out on a qualification berth to the Top League play-offs.

As part of the radical overhaul to the Top League next year, Kamaishi Seawaves will compete in the second division of the new three-tiered competition alongside the Kintetsu Liners, Hino Red Dolphins, Honda Heat, Mazda Blue Zoomers and Mitsubishi Dynaboars.

This year’s Kamaishi Seawaves squad featured four New Zealanders – former Southland prop Morgan Mitchell, ex-Chiefs and Hurricanes flanker Sam Henwood, Manawatu playmaker Sam Malcolm and former Auckland age-grade first-five Olle Polson.

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Shaylen 9 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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