Auckland’s loss is Northland’s gain
The surprise omission of Grammar Carlton first five Lachie Munro from Auckland’s Air New Zealand Cup squad next year could be a blessing in disguise for the youngster.
Twenty-one-year-old Munro will play his rugby in Northland next season under the guidance of Northland player and former Hurricanes and Blues number 10 David Holwell.
“I was definitely surprised. I thought I’d done enough to stay in the province,” he says.
“But it’s a good challenge to go somewhere else and work on my game for the Blues in 2010.”
Munro was told he missed out on an Auckland contract because he needs to learn to take more control of provincial games, like he does in club rugby.
And he’s hoping the experienced Holwell will be able to help guide him in the right direction.
“The way he controls the game and his leadership are the things I will be able to take from him.”
However Grammar Carlton fans might get to see Munro turn out for the side in some early season matches next year, before he heads to Northland in May.
“It’s been my club since I was five years old, so it will be pretty different going somewhere else to play.”
Grammar Carlton coach Brandon Jackson says Munro’s departure will be a loss for the club, who were knocked out of the Gallaher Shield semifinals in August.
“He’s a very good club man, who played very well for us this season.”
There are several possibilities for Jackson to consider at first five next season, including Auckland squad member Ash Moeke, who was loaned to Northland for the Air NZ Cup.
Jackson says going to Northland should provide Munro with the opportunity to play behind a more experienced forward pack than the young Auckland side who took the field this season.
“It’s a kick in the guts, but it’s also an opportunity for him. The thing he’s got to do is not get too upset about it.”
Northland coach Mark Anscombe says they had no hesitation signing Munro.
Holwell’s playing future is undecided, but he’s still expected to have some role in the team next year.
“With the opportunity to get a classy first five like Lachie, we had to jump on it. The more time he spends with David, the more it will benefit Lachie in the future.”
New start: Grammar Carlton first five Lachie Munro, in action here against Papatoetoe earlier this year, is off to Northland next season because he was unwanted by Auckland.