Cam Roigard embracing TJ Perenara ‘challenge’


Hurricanes halfback Cam Roigard has come a long way in 12 months. This time last year, the then-22-year-old wasn’t at all a realistic chance of going to the World Cup.

All Blacks Aaron Smith, Finlay Christie and Brad Weber all stood out as New Zealand’s top-three choices at scrum-half, while veteran TJ Perenara was sidelined with an Achille injury.

But that injury to Penera, which he suffered in the dying minutes of New Zealand’s dramatic draw with England at Twickenham in 2022, offered a young talent the chance to step up.

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And step up he did. Cam Roigard went from a relative unknown at Super Rugby level to a fan favourite within New Zealand rugby circles.

Roigard debuted for the All Blacks against arch-rivals the Wallabies in front of a packed house at the world-famous MCG, and the Hurricane also did enough to earn a spot in the World Cup squad, too.

After taking out the All Blacks’ pre-season Bronco test with a time of 4 minutes and 12 seconds, it seems that Roigard has a big future at Super Rugby and Test level. But a big challenge awaits.

Before the Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson era gets underway later this year, Roigard will have to prove himself once again with veteran TJ Perenara set to return from injury with the Hurricanes.

“This time last year I wasn’t in the starting lineup at the Hurricanes so it’s going to be different obviously,” Roigard said, as reported by Stuff.

“But I’m still looking forward to the challenge ahead because nothing is guaranteed and TJ is looking pretty fit now which will be a pretty awesome challenge to come up against him.

“TJ brings a lot of experience. He’s been around for a while now and has a lot to add in that department but he’ll be hungry to prove himself and we’re going to compete really well and challenge each other. But that’s how you get the best out of each other.”

Touted as a future star by All Blacks after only a few games at international level, many were excited to see what Roigard could do against the rugby world in France.

Playing at the Rugby World Cup, Roigard only played three matches – all in pool play – against Uruguay, Italy and Namibia. Aaron Smith and Finlay Christie were preferred by All Blacks coaches during the knockout stages of the tournament.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome experience,” Roigard reflected.

“Being able to play in those pool games was a dream come true and to play with those players who aren’t in the All Blacks anymore and the coaches, it was pretty cool and something I will cherish for a long time.

“But you always want to play in those big games and missing out on that was something I didn’t get over.

“But hopefully it’s a bit of fuel to keep pushing to make the next one but at the moment all my focus is on the season with the Hurricanes.”

The Hurricanes get their Super Rugby Pacific campaign underway to the Western Force on February 23.





Source link: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/all-black-cam-roigard-embracing-tj-perenara-challenge/

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