Anton Lienert-Brown and Nathan Harris ink new deals
Two All Blacks and key members of the Gallagher Chiefs, midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown and hooker Nathan Harris, have extended their contracts with New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and their Super Rugby team.
22-year-old Lienert Brown, who played nine Tests last year in his debut season for the All Blacks, has signed a new deal through to 2020, with 25-year-old Harris re-signing on to 2019.
Lienert-Brown said he was delighted to be recommitting to his country and Super side.
“I’m hugely excited and grateful for the opportunity to re-sign with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby until 2020. New Zealand Rugby, Waikato and the Gallagher Chiefs have played a huge part in developing me into the rugby player I am today. For that I’m very thankful, and look forward to furthering my development as a rugby player here in New Zealand.”
Harris, who has played four Tests for the All Blacks and 24 games for the Chiefs, made an eagerly-awaited return to rugby last week after a long injury layoff.
“I’m really excited to continue my journey with the Gallagher Chiefs for the next two seasons. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of this team for the past four years and in that time I’ve overcome some significant injuries and also got to play alongside exceptional players. I’m really looking forward to being involved with the Chiefs going forward, under Colin Cooper, and to keep working to be the best person and player I can be,” said Harris.
NZR General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said: “We’re over the moon that both Anton and Nathan have re-signed with us. They are two players, along with others, that the future success of New Zealand Rugby will be built on. I’ve got to know both these guys, initially through the New Zealand Under 20 side, and it’s been great to see them grow as players and people, and achieve success at the highest level.”
Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: “The contract extensions of both Anton and Nathan are great news for our Club. Anton is an impressive young man on and off the field. He made his debut as an 18 year old against the Bulls at Pretoria, highlighting his phenomenal work ethic, tackling and creative pass as strong features of his game.
“Nathan’s game time in both the Chiefs and All Black jersey has been limited due to a couple of major injuries. His athleticism and skillset suits the modern day hooker’s role and we are really proud of the work Nate continually does in our communities.”
Mini bios – Nathan Harris and Anton Lienert-Brown
Dynamic midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown was called into the All Blacks squad for the 2016 Investec Rugby Championship as an injury replacement, deserved reward for his consistent form for the Chiefs during the 2016 Investec Super Rugby season. He finished the year with nine Test appearances and scored two tries. Lienert-Brown was born and raised in Christchurch, where he shone at notable rugby school Christchurch Boys’ High School. He was first set to play for the Waikato provincial side in 2013 but an operation delayed his top-level debut until the following year when he made his Super Rugby debut, played for New Zealand Under 20 and made his Waikato debut. He has played more than 30 times for the Chiefs and 19 times for Waikato.
Mobile hooker Nathan Harris hails from Tauranga and came through the grades with New Zealand Under 20, making the final of the Junior World Champs in 2012 before making his provincial debut with Bay of Plenty the same year. He made his Chiefs debut in 2014 and was called into the All Blacks squad during the Investec Rugby Championship, making his Test debut against Argentina in La Plata. He has shown strong resolve and strength of character over the last few year with injuries. He was injured in the opening Test of the All Blacks Northern Tour in 2014, returned to the national side in 2016 for two more Test appearances before returning to the Chiefs Super team recently after his latest setback.