Mako moment is Christie’s career highlight
Former Highlanders and Tasman captain Shane Christie has been forced to retire due to ongoing symptoms from a concussion he suffered back in 2016.
The 32-year-old flanker missed the 2017 Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup seasons and was subsequently not awarded a playing contract for this year.
Christie grew up in Canvastown, moving to Nelson to play club rugby and work as an apprentice builder. It took him four years to earn a provincial contract with Tasman and a further two to establish himself as one of the region’s leading loose forwards and eventually catch the eye of the Crusaders.
But after making just one appearance for the Crusaders during his debut Super Rugby season in 2013, Christie was lured further south to play for the Highlanders, where he enjoyed a more successful run. He spent a period as co-captain and helped the team win their maiden Super Rugby title in 2015.
He also played for the New Zealand sevens team and for the Ma¯ori All Blacks during his career.
Despite all that, Christie said the highlight of his career came in a Mako jersey, leading Tasman to promotion after winning the 2013 Mitre Cup Championship final against Hawke’s Bay.
‘‘It was amazing at Trafalgar Park. Hawke’s Bay had the kick to win at the end and our supporters group were just giving it to him [Ihaia West]. I could hear them over my shoulder and he shanked it. Those 60 fans won that game for us. That was a real highlight,’’ he said.
Christie will continue working in rugby after landing a job as Tasman forwards coach.
‘‘I’m excited to have the opportunity and to be there with Leon [MacDonald] who has been with the Mako for eight years and Andrew Goodman who I played with for a couple of seasons. It’s awesome to move onto another phase with someone I played with and am good mates with,’’ he said.
He said the goal for this season is to do something that eluded him as a player – win the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership.
‘‘We’ve been in three finals and have lost them all but hopefully we’ve learnt from that. I’m really excited about the team we have this year and what we can achieve.’’
Shane Christie Shane Christie has been forced to retire after suffering a concussion back in 2016.