Dynamic All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie provided one of the better defensive highlights of the weekend with his try-saving tackle and turnover in New Zealand’s convincing 60-13 win over Fiji.
McKenzie is most well-known for his agility and skill with ball-in-hand. His ability to make defenders miss is truly a joy to watch. He’s also fearless and is not shy when it comes to contact.
WATCH: McKenzie hit hard by brutal Botia shoulder in All Backs win over Fiji
With that in mind, he’s also a skilled defender, as he makes clear in this try-saving tackle and turnover on Ben Volavola
The hosts dispelled much of the negative talk surrounding last week’s performance. They were much more clinical in areas that let them down in the first match against an aggressive Fiji side.
Once again, Fiji’s physicality allowed them to hang around for the first half-hour. The All Blacks then opted for a shot on goal. This proved to be a turning point, giving them a moment to collect themselves before blowing the doors off.
Speaking of the match, head coach Ian Foster said: “We weren’t as clinical as we wanted to be early, but maybe we were just a bit excited. But I loved the composure, the way Sam got the guys composed.”
“Within that first 20 I think we had about seven turnovers against us for various reasons, but then we calmed down and really played some good, clinical rugby.”
All Blacks Haka vs Fiji Cibi:
Fiji certainly made a good, physical showing over the last two weeks and will be disappointed in having to wait until the end-of-year tours to play again.
Fiji head coach Vern Cotter said: “It’s fair to say we’re disappointed. Because just up until the 25th-30th minute, we were still in the game.”
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“The 35th minute we had the last five penalties against us, for offsides and ruck offences. So we made it so hard for ourselves. When we did compete, I thought we competed well.”
“I think, physically, dynamic speed and explosive energy, we’re ok. But we don’t maintain it, so we’re going to have to work on ourselves a little bit around that endurance side of things.”
Full match highlights: