Ngatai sets his sights on All Black midfield

After playing in the final stages of the game against Manu Samoa and watching the ABs win the RWC, former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 skipper is aiming high.

After playing in the final stages of the game against Manu Samoa and watching the ABs win the RWC, former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 skipper is aiming high.

TEAM MATES?: Gisborne's Charlie Ngatai (at right) is determined to do all he can to gain more time in an All Black jersey next year. He has eyes on the midfield and teaming up with players like World emerging player Nehe Milner-Skudder. File photo
Charlie Ngatai off the field.

GISBORNE’s newest All Black, Charlie Ngatai, has his sights set firmly on earning more time in the black jumper and the Rugby World Cup victory has further inspired him to do it.

The 25-year-old Maori All Blacks captain, Taranaki captain and Chiefs midfield back has been in the city this week. The former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 skipper is the son of Lisa and the late Kirk Ngatai.

He ran in The Gisborne Herald Quarter Marathon last weekend and was a guest speaker at the Boys’ High prize-giving.

“I watched the cup final last Sunday with my partner Gaynor at the family home here in Gisborne,” Ngatai said.

“It was awesome to see the boys win, and to see all that hard work they have put in over the past four years pay off for them. It was quite a relief for me actually to see them win it and it would have been awesome to have been part of it.”

Ngatai said that since last weekend he had been struck by how important the win was to the country.

“It’s made me even more determined to do my best to cement a regular spot and be a part of the All Black culture.”

Ngatai was on the bench in the ABs’ game against Manu Samoa and got on for the final stages of the test.

“I only got 15 minutes but the time on the field and the whole
trip to Samoa gave me a taste for it, and now I want more.
I want 80 minutes."

“It starts to feed you inside and the experience has increased my hunger for more time in the black jumper.”

When Ngatai was included in the squad for Samoa, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said, “We are blessed with the midfielders we’ve got and Charlie would probably have had a test before now in any other country’s team.”

Ngatai has his sights set firmly on one of the All Blacks’ midfield spots following the international retirement of longstanding centre partners Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu.

“The ABs’ coaching staff have told me they want to see me playing through consistently and not getting injured, and that’s something I am working on.

“I know I need to develop a more dominant tackle and I also know I need to get better at reading the plays. Those are two areas that I intend to focus on with the Chiefs in next year’s Super 15.”

The father of two girls — Kerehi, 2, and Makaea, nine months — said he knew how hard he would have to work to achieve his goals.

“It is hard work and six years as a professional player has certainly put a lot of stress on my body, but I have my goals,” Ngatai said.

“I’ve worked out what does and doesn’t work for me in maintaining full fitness.”

“Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has told me he wants to see me play week in, week out for them next year and avoid the niggling injuries. I hope to manage my body better to do that.”

Ngatai and his family head back up to the Waikato tomorrow.

“Chiefs pre-season training starts on November 26 in Hamilton,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

GISBORNE’s newest All Black, Charlie Ngatai, has his sights set firmly on earning more time in the black jumper and the Rugby World Cup victory has further inspired him to do it.

The 25-year-old Maori All Blacks captain, Taranaki captain and Chiefs midfield back has been in the city this week. The former Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 skipper is the son of Lisa and the late Kirk Ngatai.

He ran in The Gisborne Herald Quarter Marathon last weekend and was a guest speaker at the Boys’ High prize-giving.

“I watched the cup final last Sunday with my partner Gaynor at the family home here in Gisborne,” Ngatai said.

“It was awesome to see the boys win, and to see all that hard work they have put in over the past four years pay off for them. It was quite a relief for me actually to see them win it and it would have been awesome to have been part of it.”

Ngatai said that since last weekend he had been struck by how important the win was to the country.

“It’s made me even more determined to do my best to cement a regular spot and be a part of the All Black culture.”

Ngatai was on the bench in the ABs’ game against Manu Samoa and got on for the final stages of the test.

“I only got 15 minutes but the time on the field and the whole
trip to Samoa gave me a taste for it, and now I want more.
I want 80 minutes."

“It starts to feed you inside and the experience has increased my hunger for more time in the black jumper.”

When Ngatai was included in the squad for Samoa, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said, “We are blessed with the midfielders we’ve got and Charlie would probably have had a test before now in any other country’s team.”

Ngatai has his sights set firmly on one of the All Blacks’ midfield spots following the international retirement of longstanding centre partners Conrad Smith and Ma’a Nonu.

“The ABs’ coaching staff have told me they want to see me playing through consistently and not getting injured, and that’s something I am working on.

“I know I need to develop a more dominant tackle and I also know I need to get better at reading the plays. Those are two areas that I intend to focus on with the Chiefs in next year’s Super 15.”

The father of two girls — Kerehi, 2, and Makaea, nine months — said he knew how hard he would have to work to achieve his goals.

“It is hard work and six years as a professional player has certainly put a lot of stress on my body, but I have my goals,” Ngatai said.

“I’ve worked out what does and doesn’t work for me in maintaining full fitness.”

“Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has told me he wants to see me play week in, week out for them next year and avoid the niggling injuries. I hope to manage my body better to do that.”

Ngatai and his family head back up to the Waikato tomorrow.

“Chiefs pre-season training starts on November 26 in Hamilton,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

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