Mako mo­ment is Christie’s ca­reer high­light

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - BACKYARD BANTER - PHILLIP ROLLO

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.’’

PHOTO: BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Shane Christie Shane Christie has been forced to re­tire after suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion back in 2016.

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