Mackintosh moving to get more game time

CHIEFS TARGET: Unwanted Highlanders prop Jamie Mackintosh has signed with the Chiefs for next season.
CHIEFS TARGET: Unwanted Highlanders prop Jamie Mackintosh has signed with the Chiefs for next season.

Chiefs-bound Stags captain Jamie Mackintosh is excited about a fresh start to his rugby career after a difficult season with the Highlanders and also plans to re-sign with Rugby Southland.

"It's hard leaving a franchise I've been part of for a long time. I've been lucky to be involved there since 2004, my first year out of school, I trained with the boys for three years and have lived in Dunedin for 10 years. It's been a huge part of my life, but I'm pretty excited about the opportunity I've been given."

The arrival of All Black loosehead Tony Woodcock at the Highlanders saw Mackintosh lose the captaincy and spend plenty of time in the grandstand this season.

"I guess I've been in a bit of a spot down here, I've mentioned a few times it's been a tough year. I think off the field I've done everything I can to give my best for the Highlanders and on the field I've played some pretty good rugby, but I just couldn't see myself coming back for another year just for an opportunity at game time."

Despite that, Mackintosh realises he won't be gifted anything at the Chiefs.

"It's a really exciting front row they've got up there with two quality tightheads in Ben Afeaki and Ben Tameifuna and a couple of good hookers in the middle, so I'm looking forward to building a good relationship with them. The young loosehead prop Pauliasi Manu has been going awesome the last few weeks so I'm not guaranteed anything. All I know is I'm going to get fit, I'm going to play some good footy and go up there and give it my all."

Mackintosh will join Stags team mate Robbie Robinson at the Chiefs, and is excited about working with Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry and Wayne Smith.

He told his team mates of his intentions last week and informed Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph on Saturday.

The friendships he had formed over the past decade with the Highlanders would stand out as his fondest memories, along with some special performances, including the win over the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium last year.

"It was the first game at Forsyth Barr, it was against the Crusaders, there were those issues with the clock - it was one of the most exciting games."

Mackintosh denied there had been any dust up with Joseph during the season, and was looking forward to Southland's NPC campaign before he heads to Hamilton.

"Now that I've signed my Chiefs deal, I'm in negotiations with Southland and I'm keen to sort that out. I get the best of both worlds, to play somewhere new for my Super Rugby and then come home at the end of the year. It would be great to get it sorted out in the next couple of weeks."

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Mackintosh's arrival was an important signing for the franchise.

"He is a bloody good man and we are rapt to have him," Rennie said.

"Jamie is an experienced player and a strong leader. We know he will be a major contributor both on and off the field and we are looking forward to working with him."

The Southland Times