Let’s puts the spotlight on Colin Slade, who will make his Super Rugby debut when he plays for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Colin Slade, who will make his Super Rugby debut when he plays at flyhalf for the Crusaders against the Chiefs in the season opener in Christchurch on Saturday, is determined to make the most of his opportunities in the absence of Dan Carter.
Rugby 365 reports that Slade has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the Super Rugby stage since excelling for Canterbury in last year’s victorious Air New Zealand Cup campaign.
The 21-year-old impressed in the absence of two regular Canterbury No.10s – Carter, who was on All Black duty, and Stephen Brett, who was struck down with a series of calf, quadriceps and knee injuries.
While the equally talented Brett was once seen as one of the natural successors to the now injured Carter (who would have been sidelined for the Super 14 anyway, while on a sabbatical at Perpignan in France), it is Slade who stole the march on his more seasoned teammate.
Brett, with 25 Super Rugby caps and more than 30 provincial games to his credit, is a veteran compared to the player who is just two years his junior.
But Slade, who made his debut for Canterbury at the start of the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup season, has made a huge impression. He is a flyhalf who can kick off both feet, his running and tactical games came on hugely as the season progressed. He is also a very good defensive player and made many try-saving tackles. His goal-kicking also improved throughout the season.
Slade said he was looking forward to a match in which he will be marking the Chiefs’ All Black Stephen Donald – who used the opportunity provided to him when Brett’s injury setbacks left a gap in the national team as Carter’s understudy.
“It’s great to get a start in the first match – it’s a dream come true,” Slade said.
“I’ll be thinking about my role within the team and making sure I deliver. I won’t worry too much about specific players in the opposition.”
There are a few other ‘newcomers’ in the Crusaders starting XV – No.8 Thomas Waldrom and wing Jared Payne. Waldrom has 30 caps for the Hurricanes to his name, while Payne is an exciting player from Northland who has previously turned out three times for the Chiefs.
On the replacement bench, hooker Jason Macdonald (the former Highlander who is the Crusaders’ only draft player this season), former Blues prop Bronson Murray and Canterbury newcomer, centre Adam Whitelock, could get their first caps for the Crusaders.Tweet