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Munster recruit Maori All Blacks midfielder

By Kim Ekin
Alex Nankivell. (Photo by Brett Phibbs/Photosport)

Chiefs midfielder Alex Nankivell is set to play his final season of Super Rugby Pacific in 2023, with the 26-year-old signing a two-year deal with Irish province Munster.

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Nankivell, originally from Christchurch, made his provincial debut for the Tasman Mako in 2015 before earning his promotion to the Chiefs in 2017. He adapted quickly to become a regular in the midfield, and his outstanding form in 2019 earned him selection for the Maori All Blacks against Fiji.

Competing with the likes of Anton Lienert-Brown and Quinn Tupaea, Nankivell grew to become a key member of the Chiefs set-up, bringing up his 50th game for the club in 2022. He completed the year with a tour to the UK with the All Blacks XV, where he came off the pine to help the representative squad 46-14 win over the Ireland development side.

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“It has been an absolute pleasure and I am so grateful to the Chiefs Rugby Club for giving me an opportunity to live my childhood dream,” said Nankivell.

“A massive thank you to the fans, the Chiefs family and my teammates, both past and present, who have been a part of my journey since I came to Waikato at the end of 2016. The memories on the field have been unreal but it’s the friendships and memories I have made off the field that I will cherish the most. I can’t wait to rip into the 2023 season for one last time and make it a season to remember.”

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan said Nankivell will leave big boots to fill.

“Losing players of Alex’s calibre is never ideal, but there comes a time in most players’ careers where they start looking at their options and in particular an overseas experience. That time has come for Alex and he goes to Munster with our full support,” said McMillan.

“Alex is a super-competitive athlete, is hard on himself and hard on others. His performances in the Chiefs jersey have consistently been of the highest order. Off-field Alex has been at the forefront of ensuring the team are genuinely connected and care for one another. There is no doubt his presence will be missed.”

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Comments

1 Comment
D
Duncan 494 days ago

That's a shame. Potential All Black Post-WC. Will probably suit up for Ireland in due course

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