Champion Crusaders sign speedy Canterbury rookie Braydon Ennor
Braydon Ennor has only played three Mitre 10 Cup games, but the 20-year-old has already done enough to secure a Super Rugby contract.
The Crusaders have secured the signature of one of the country's brightest rugby prospects, signing the speedy Canterbury utility back for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach confirmed the deal was done, meaning the Christchurch-based franchise has 30 players on board for next year's title defence.
Ennor has scored six tries, including four against Southland last Friday night, on the wing in his past two games, but played centre for the New Zealand under-20s during this year's World Cup, and for Christchurch club side University.
"Braydon is a really dynamic player, who can play wing, midfield or fullback, so it's great to have a player with the ability to play any of these positions," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said in a statement.
"He is genuinely fast, and knows his way to the try line, which he has shown in his rugby this season at club, under 20s and in Mitre 10 Cup."
Ennor joins outside backs George Bridge, Israel Dagg, Digby Ioane, Jone Macilai, David Havili and Seta Tamanivalu on the Crusaders' books, while Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodhue are the contracted midfielders.
Canterbury vice-captain and midfielder Tim Bateman said last week he was in discussions with Robertson regarding returning for another season.
Tamanivalu and Havili can also play in the midfield, while Canterbury assistant coach Joe Maddock said there was a chance Ennor would be used in the midfield at some stage during this year's NPC campaign.
Ennor, a St Kentigern's old boy, is originally from Auckland but moved to Christchurch last year and is almost two years through a commerce degree at Canterbury University.
He was a member of the Crusaders Knights (development side) this year, and said his decision to leave Auckland and move south was supported by his family.
"I've always sort of liked the way Canterbury play their rugby. Dad's a big influence on me. He's a big code head, he loves to watch his rugby and he likes the way they play down here. I came down and had a look and absolutely loved it," Ennor said.
After coming off the bench in Canterbury's Ranfurly Shield defence against Otago in round two, Ennor started the red and blacks' big wins against Hawke's Bay and Southland.
Two tries against the Magpies were followed by an electric performance against the Stags at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, when he ran in four tries - three from long range - in the second half of Canterbury's 78-20 win.
Codie Taylor (until 2021), Sam Whitelock, Oli Jager, Mitchell Drummond (2020); Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Joe Moody, Ben Funnell, Tim Perry, Mitchell Hunt, George Bridge, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, Richie Mo'unga, Tom Sanders, Braydon Ennor (2019); Matt Todd, Ryan Crotty, Seta Tamanivalu, Wyatt Crockett, Jordan Taufua, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Mike Alaalatoa, Jone Macilai, Leon Fukofuka, Pete Samu, Digby Ioane, Bryn Hall (2018).