Damian Mckenzie



  • He has been getting a lot of positive press, Cullen giving him a big wrap saying he should be an AB,
     
    Curious to know what people think, is his lack of size an issue?



  • Bit of a non issue for me, if he's good enough, he's big enough.



  • He's not scared in the tackle, so that's good enough for me.



  • he certainly plays bigger than the 81kg he is listed as, plus hes only 20, that gives him another couple of years to 'become a man' and get a bit more size without losing the pace



  • Certainly has some silky skills.  His size is not a positive to me.  I would not make room for him as I would leave Ben Smith at FB and DMac is not a winger.  Cruden has managed to play despite his size although he has had his share of injuries.  Players are getting bigger, stronger and faster.  Football nous and speed competing against size and power.



  • If Cruds can dominate at that level then so can McKenzie.



  • Looks very much like he could fit in the 10/15 super sub role like Barrett. Will be interesting to see how he develops over the next few years. Would he be the 4th First five in line?



  • Mentioned in dispatches by Shag on Veitch's show yesterday.



  • The phrase "playing above your weight" is appropriate for McKenzie, but there is only one way to find out.  There are plenty of examples of players who have had the physical attributes to succeed for the ABs and didn't.  I know which type of player I'd prefer!



  • I like Shags line. "He has plenty under the left nipple"
    I've said before. AB selectors don't ignore freak talent. They will take him into camp and see how he can fit a gameplan.



  • I'd be shocked if he didn't get an AB cap at some point this year. On top of his fantastic performances this year, Wayne Smith is a big fan of him and the last I heard, his voice has a bit of weight within the setup.



  • I'm sure he'll get a run in the June tests somewhere.



  • Skill trumps size in several positions (why does everything I say sound so damned dirty) and first five is one of them.
     
    If Dave Rennie and Wayne Smith rate him, Shag has him on the radar, he's got a hefty strike rate with the boot and doesn't shirk from tackles or a sprint, then that is good enough for me.



  • So why couldn't he play wing? Seems a great replacement for NMS to me.



  • So why couldn't he play wing? Seems a great replacement for NMS to me.If Colin Slade is good enough to be an All Black winger, then sure as shit D Mac is too!



  • I swear, if Danger Mouse doesn't become an all black this year, Kirwan will eat his hat!



  • Or does he play fullback and smith slots onto the wing?
     
    i know smith is the number 1FB , but he is probably the number 1 right wing as well with NMS out



  • I think Shag mentioned they dont see him so much as a winger - I agree I think his skillset is better suited to fullback. Shift Ben to 14.



  • I swear, if Danger Mouse doesn't become an all black this year, Kirwan will eat his hat!

    Where is Kirwan these days?



  • Good to see lots of manlove for DMac.
    I agree with everything said above - What I like particularly about DMac is the positive energy he brings, and the creativity to try something new. Intuition and work ethic; you can't coach. It is infectious however, and the team as a whole benefits. The ability to make something out of nothing cannot be underestimated. 
    I would be interested to see him given a stint in the 10 shirt, to see how he can shape a game, especially when the team is under pressure.



  • He wasn't to flash at 10 last year, but his decision making seems a lot more consistent this year so might be ready for another shot. I think he needs to be considered a fullback only, from an All Blacks point of view, until he shows better first five form at Super Level.
     
    He's got great defense, too. And wow, that pace to run down that Force break.



  • One of the big parts of his game is getting involved as much as possible. Not entirely sure if that translates to test rugby but hopefully we will get to see.
    I think that the stats show he has the most carries in Super rugby.



  • Yes playing fullback in super rugby is different to test rugby,I can remember a young Nick Evans playing Fullback against England I think it was , and his super rugby instinct of running it back from everywhere brought him unstuck a bit.



  • Looks a great athlete and a classy footy player, but test fullback is different. Sides like England and Ireland would test him with high ball after high ball after high ball. I see him as a utility player or right winger initially, especially when the ABs have Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett as other options at fullback.



  • I think he needs to be considered a fullback only, from an All Blacks point of view, until he shows better first five form at Super Level.

    Just to add to that, I listened to Veitch's interview with Steve Hansen's, and Hansen listed him as the fourth first five they were keeping an eye on. So I guess he'd disagree that he should be considered a fullback only at test level at the moment 🙂
     
    https://soundcloud.com/nzherald/tony-veitch-talks-to-steve-hansen



  • Where is Kirwan these days?

    Work is a bit nuts at the moment.
    This conversation reminds me of 2002 and Ben Blair. Very similar players.



  • Work is a bit nuts at the moment.
    This conversation reminds me of 2002 and Ben Blair. Very similar players.

    Wash your mouth out.
     
    Similar size maybe but until DMac has a meltdown of Blair magnitude I don't equate the two of them at all



  • Big positive for me in the Chiefs Force game was he looked pretty comfortable under the high ball. It's something I haven't really noticed before, and I guess I assumed he wouldn't be too flash at due to his height etc - but he certainly got up there when needed.



  • I guess the reason I am struggling to take the calls for McKenzie to be included in the June tests seriously is that they are based on five games of SR form. No-one was calling for Damian to be included in the All Blacks for the RWC which means that he's effectively being labelled an All Black after five SR games. Don't get me wrong I think he's a prodigious talent who hopefully has a long representative career ahead of him, but it seems like every year a young player finds a rich vein of early season form and suddenly people are demanding for the All Black team to be shuffled around so that room can be found for them. As a five eighth, and I don't think he's anywhere close to overtaking players like Cruden and Sopoaga. As a fullback no-one on the planet is close to Ben Smith. And as a utility 10/15 bench option I think Beaudan Barrett has done a spectacular job filling that role for the ABs over the past 24 months and deserves all rights of incumbency. Whilst I can completely understand why people are excited about McKenzie's early season form I don't believe there is any rush to get him into the All Blacks. If he is to take the next step with his career and become an All Black then I believe he needs to make a compelling case by outplaying one of the incumbents over a substantial period of time. And I don't think he has come close to doing that yet.



  • I think MacKenzie's rep is built on more than 5 Super Rugby games.
    He's been around for a couple of years at first class level and people have been keeping an eye on him as a potential AB for even longer.
    The fact that his rep has slowly been building and he doesn't yet seem prone to brain farts and seems to deliver more often than not suggests he is getting ready to deliver on that potential.
    Hence he's forced his way into the conversation.
    It's more than just us public numptys picking the flashy guy in form and saying he's the man.
    Remember Hansen dropped him into the conversation un promoted over weekend. And he's not exactly known for irrational sekection decisions.



  • plus most are just 'talking about him' around AB conversations, I dont think anyone is suggesting they drop someone for him just yet, this is what we do. 
     
    We speculate about players who might become ABs.



  • I think MacKenzie's rep is built on more than 5 Super Rugby games.
    He's been around for a couple of years at first class level and people have been keeping an eye on him as a potential AB for even longer.
    The fact that his rep has slowly been building and he doesn't yet seem prone to brain farts and seems to deliver more often than not suggests he is getting ready to deliver on that potential.
    Hence he's forced his way into the conversation.
    It's more than just us public numptys picking the flashy guy in form and saying he's the man.
    Remember Hansen dropped him into the conversation un promoted over weekend. And he's not exactly known for irrational sekection decisions.

    Whilst your point about Hansen is a valid one, I don't remember McKenzie being discussed as a potential AB last year at all, although I am happy to be proven wrong if people were advocating for him. So what's changed since then? 5 Super Rugby games.



  • Wash your mouth out.
     
    Similar size maybe but until DMac has a meltdown of Blair magnitude I don't equate the two of them at all

    Also, DMac is a creative player, IIRC Blair was more of a runner, kind of a B grade Cullen.
     
    In a general sense, DMac shouldn't be thought of as a starter by any stretch of the imagination, but the ABs pull in good guys young/inexperienced all the time, I don't know why people would have an issue with him being in the discussion ... unless they haven't seen him play (his improvement on last year has been noticeable, time in the AB camp might help speed up the ironing out of his issues).



  • plus most are just 'talking about him' around AB conversations, I dont think anyone is suggesting they drop someone for him just yet, this is what we do. 
     
    We speculate about players who might become ABs.

    Oh I enjoy doing that too. I also enjoy discussing reasons why a player might miss out on selection as well.



  • Whilst your point about Hansen is a valid one, I don't remember McKenzie being discussed as a potential AB last year at all, although I am happy to be proven wrong if people were advocating for him. So what's changed since then? 5 Super Rugby games.

    NMS was in the discussion from a few Super games last year ....



  • It may only be five games into the season but the improvements he's made to his game since his shakey first season last year are fucking astonishing. Last year he tried to run everything and when nothing was on, he'd do something dumb and hope it miraculously came off. This year he's cut out all the dumb shit and is perfectly happy to run the ball up or kick it into the corners if he has to. He's a much smarter and more accurate player than he was just last year.
     
    Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's going to suddenly be a regular starter this year, but I do think he'll be given a few runs like a lot of the young guys were back in 2012 (Cane, BBBR, Coles, A Smith, Savea and TKB).



  • It may only be five games into the season but the improvements he's made to his game since his shakey first season last year are fucking astonishing. Last year he tried to run everything and when nothing was on, he'd do something dumb and hope it miraculously came off. This year he's cut out all the dumb shit and is perfectly happy to run the ball up or kick it into the corners if he has to. He's a much smarter and more accurate player than he was just last year.
     
    Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's going to suddenly be a regular starter this year, but I do think he'll be given a few runs like a lot of the young guys were back in 2012 (Cane, BBBR, Coles, A Smith, Savea and TKB).

    Barrett too.



  • Oh I enjoy doing that too. I also enjoy discussing reasons why a player might miss out on selection as well.

    and thats part of discussing people around AB selections...player a might be doing great, but might miss out as player b fits in better....



  • Whilst your point about Hansen is a valid one, I don't remember McKenzie being discussed as a potential AB last year at all, although I am happy to be proven wrong if people were advocating for him. So what's changed since then? 5 Super Rugby games.

    I think people were talking about him being a future AB while he was still at high school. No one was really expecting him to make last years squad, but he was still seen as a player that would in the future, at least in my mind.



  • Whilst your point about Hansen is a valid one, I don't remember McKenzie being discussed as a potential AB last year at all, although I am happy to be proven wrong if people were advocating for him. So what's changed since then? 5 Super Rugby games.

    You're wrong. Plenty people been talking about him as a potential AB for years...
    Ok, I assume you mean not much mention of him making the 2015 team at that stage. And yes you are correct not too much pushing for him then. (Although i do seem to recall some crackpot talkback callers on the back of DC's "poor form" ...)
    There have been an ADDITIONAL 5 Super rugby games (on top of an NPC/ITM Cup), and the retirement/unavailability of two incumbent 10s. So he moves up the pecking order.
    He's in the conversation...
    ...whether he's from Canterbury or not 🙂


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