One-test All Blacks playmaker Brett Cameron will play for Manawatu in this year’s National Provincial Championship [NPC] campaign.
Cameron had been a long-serving member of the Canterbury squad, having made his first-class debut for the southern province in 2017, the same year Canterbury won its ninth title in 10 seasons.
The 24-year-old has since become a regular sighting in the Canterbury No. 10 jersey, with his efforts leading to a deal with the Crusaders in 2018 and a test debut for the All Blacks against Japan later on that year.
Cameron said a return to test rugby is on his mind, but, in order to do that, consistent performances in the New Zealand provincial scene is required first.
“From what game time I do get, just keep growing on my performances and be consistent,” he said.
“Then moving into [NPC] just keep nailing my role with consistent performances for Manawatu.”
Signing with the Turbos reflects something of a homecoming for Cameron, who was born near the Manawatu area in Whanganui and attended the town’s Cullinane College before relocating to Christchurch to study and further his rugby career.
“I have been down here [Christchurch] for quite a while now straight out of school. It is going to be [a] nice change being close to home,” he said.
The acquisition of Cameron suggests the Turbos have found a genuine long-term replacement for experienced first-five Otere Black, who departed the province after six years of service in 2019 to join Bay of Plenty.
In Black’s place, the likes of Stewart Cruden and Ben Wyness have donned the green-and-white No. 10 jersey, but Cameron seems primed to slot straight into the starting lineup.
“It is a good new challenge for me,” he said. “It is also a chance to be close to home which is pretty cool.
“I am pretty excited to get alongside a young team and test myself in a new environment and keep growing as a player.”
Cameron played a starring role as he guided the Crusaders to a second half comeback in Friday’s pre-season clash with the Highlanders in Temuka, helping his side overcome a 26-0 halftime deficit to clinch a 28-26 win.
Cameron could also feature for the Crusaders when they open their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin next Friday.
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