Damian McKenzie captained Christ College 1st XV in his final year after being a three year player at the elite schoolboy level.
In 2013 his Christchurch-based school travelled south to one of the country’s powerhouse rugby schools – Otago Boys High School – known for having a strong pack and physical defence, for an annual traditional.
The explosive first five led his side’s haka with incredible mana to mount the challenge against the home side, before delivering a performance that left the commentary team lost for superlatives.
McKenzie scored all of his side’s 16 points as an improbable upset looked on the cards before Otago Boys mounted a second half comeback and chased down Christs to win 19-16.
Despite a great individual showing, McKenzie showed little regard for the individual praise, deflecting to his teammates for a great showing and expressed disapointment at not having won the match.
The game certainly cemented McKenzie’s status as an up and comer worthy of watching, which didn’t take long to translate to the next level.
He immediately became one of Super Rugby most exciting attacking talents with the Chiefs before debuting with the All Blacks in 2017.
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