Rising star Cam Roigard reflects on ‘pretty surreal’ World Cup debut
There was no room for Roigard in the All Blacks’ team to take on France in last week’s tournament opener, but the rising star was given a golden opportunity to push his case in Toulouse.
Roigard, 22, started in the All Blacks’ No. 9 jersey for the first time. The Test at Stade de Toulouse also doubled down as Roigard’s Rugby World Cup debut.
The three-Test All Black took the opportunity with both hands – and then some – with Roigard receiving Player of the Match honours after the 71-3 win.
Roigard scored two tries inside the opening eight minutes and also set up teammates with a couple of assists later in the Test. The performance was pretty close to perfect from the young scrum-half.
“It’s pretty surreal. The atmosphere was amazing and we were quite fortunate our forwards were dominant and gave me a good platform to play off,” Roigard told reporters after the Test.
“On the other side, credit to Namibia, they showed a lot of passion and heart. I hope that fella [Le Roux Malan] that injured his leg is alright. We don’t like seeing players injured like that.”
Roigard announced himself to the rugby world with this sensational display, and it’ll be very interesting to see who coach Foster decides to pick against Italy in two weeks’ time.
The All Blacks are on a bye week, and will temporarily relocate to Bordeaux as they continue to prepare for a must-win pool clash with the Azzurri.
Fans will spend the next fortnight watching Roigard’s highlight reel on repeat while hoping that coach Foster is doing the same.
Veteran Aaron Smith has held down the fort as New Zaland’s starting halfback for quite some time, but Roigard brings something new to the mix. Finlay Christie is another option, and has been favoured to come off the pine ahead of Roigard in some big Tests.
“He played really well, he had a pack that was giving a platform clearly, but he took his opportunities,” Foster said on Friday.
“It’s one thing to have good go-forward ball but he made really good decisions with that and he should be really proud. We saw the benefit of his running game.”
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