Mackintosh committed to Southland

COMING HOME: Southland rugby player Jamie Mackintosh training with the Chiefs at Ruakura yesterday.
COMING HOME: Southland rugby player Jamie Mackintosh training with the Chiefs at Ruakura yesterday.

Poll: Jamie Mackintosh doesn't believe he has a point to prove when unbeaten New Zealand outfits the Chiefs and Highlanders meet in Hamilton on Saturday night.

Mackintosh, who has committed himself to Rugby Southland for the next two years, played 67 games and captained the Highlanders before joining the list of high profile departees from the franchise during the offseason.

"I never really had a point to prove to anyone. I played well for the Highlanders last year and I left simply because, when I left, Tony Woodcock was still there and I wasn't getting opportunities. I wanted to play and do something different," he said.

"I just want to get a win in this environment, because whatever team you are in your week is a lot easier when you have a win. I'd love to go into the bye knowing that we've won two games, are the top New Zealand franchise team and it would be a nice start to the bye week."

Despite that, coming up against a team of former team mates usually brings the best, or the worst, out in players.

Mackintosh hasn't thought a lot about the game, but expects his excitement levels to lift during the week.

"As soon as you shift somewhere different, it's a game you mark on the calendar. It would just be great to get the win, and we know how hard that's going to be. Both teams have got the bye next week and have put themselves in a position where they can go into the bye as the only unbeaten New Zealand franchise team. Whether I'm on the bench or starting, hopefully I can have an influence on the game."

Mackintosh started for the Chiefs against the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend, grabbing an unlikely win on scraps of possession and territory.

It was a memorable outing for Mackintosh, partly because of an early tackle on Richie McCaw which earned him the ire of the crowd, but not a yellow card.

"It's not something you want to be doing to the All Black skipper, is it?" Mackintosh joked.

"I've spent a bit of time with Richie over the years, there was no malice in it. I caught up with him after the game, he said he milked it a little bit and we had a bit of a laugh about it. I thought I was in the bin, but when I saw the replay it was 50/50."

Mackintosh has been hugely impressed with the Chiefs setup since arriving at the franchise, and can fully appreciate the work which has gone into back-to-back Super Rugby titles.

He flats with Tasman players Tom Marshall and Liam Squires and while there hasn't been much time for recreation away from training, Mackintosh has managed to have a look around one local farm.

Having signed on with the Chiefs for two years, it was a simple decision to commit to the Stags after the coaching situation had been sorted out with the appointment of Brad Mooar, Mackintosh said.

"He seems like a really nice fella. The discussions I've had with him about the team, and what direction we want to take it, have been top notch."

The Southland Times