NPC coach's advice to Eddie Osei-Nketia over possible code switch
Canterbury head coach Mark Brown has offered a piece of advice to star Kiwi sprinter Eddie Osei-Nketia over a potential cross-code switch to rugby.
RugbyPass revealed earlier this week that Osei-Nketia’s management team and the Crusaders had entered “preliminary discussions” over a possible switch to rugby following the 20-year-old’s shock exclusion from New Zealand’s Tokyo Olympics athletics team.
Speaking to media shortly after Canterbury’s 2021 NPC squad announcement on Wednesday, Brown admitted he knew little about Osei-Nketia, but recommended that he make the switch as quickly as possible if is serious about a career in rugby.
“The first thing for him would be to make a career shift and commit to being a rugby player. Things will look after themselves from there,” Brown said.
“He’d be fast. I think he comes from a rugby background but, honestly, I don’t know too much about him … but anyone who gets him wouldn’t be starting from scratch.”
While nothing about Osei-Nketia’s rugby-playing future is set in stone, the youngster – whose 100m personal best is 10.12s, just 0.01s shy of his father and New Zealand record-holder Gus Nketia – said it would be a dream to play for the Crusaders.
“I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot, wearing the red and playing down in Christchurch in the cold,” Osei-Nketia told RugbyPass.
“It’d be a massive honour to play for one of the best teams of all-time in Super Rugby, helping them out and being a part of the Christchurch community.”
He conceded, however, that he would need to fully commit himself to a cross-code move if he is to make the cut in rugby.
“But, in order for me to play for the Crusaders, I need to get there first. I need to work hard, I need to grind hard, and I just need to be on top.
“I need to be studying the game. I need to make sure that I’m always studying and putting my mind on small things so I can get there one day.”
Osei-Nketia believes he is capable of doing that via the Crusaders, though, due to the franchise’s “elite” training facilities.
“It looks like a pretty elite academy that can transfer rugby players to elite rugby players. If I go through the academy, I believe that I could change into a very, very talented rugby player. That’s what I think.”
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