Drummond opts for Canterbury academy

WAYNE MARTIN
Last updated 13:05 12/11/2012

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Mitchell Drummond will be playing his rugby in Christchurch next season.

The Nelson College First XV captain and halfback has decided to accept a one-year contract, with right of renewal, with the Canterbury Rugby Union Academy and will officially head south in early January.

Still 18, Drummond was a member of the New Zealand Barbarians secondary schools rugby team this year and has also been selected in the New Zealand under-19 touch team. Drummond made the decision to head south after meeting the Canterbury union's academy manager, Richard Smith, Tasman chief executive Andrew Flexman and TRU academy manager Gary Stevens. He will also start his builder's apprenticeship in Christchurch.

The talented sporting all-rounder has also represented Nelson at cricket and said it was an extremely tough decision to make.

"It took a while to make a decision and I lost a wee bit of sleep and was a bit stressed," he said.

"It's obviously tough to leave home and my family and friends, but I just didn't want to have any regrets further down the track."

He's considering linking up with either the High School Old Boys or Christchurch rugby clubs, but said he was leaning more towards HSOB. Drummond said that former Nelson College and Christchurch BHS first five-eighth Fletcher Smith was also heading to HSOB, while former All Blacks midfielder Aaron Mauger's involvement there as part of the coaching staff would also be a factor in any decision to link with the club.

It means that Drummond intends putting his cricket career "on hold" for the time being as he intends to "focus on rugby for the next couple of years".

He'll play one more two-day club fixture with his Stoke-Nayland team, with a possibility of returning for the two-day final, if Stoke-Nayland qualifies and if his other sporting commitments allow.

Drummond said his decision didn't preclude him from returning to Tasman at some stage.

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- The Nelson Mail

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