Nelson-based German-born flanker Anton Segner will venture north to join the Super Rugby ranks with the Blues.
The 20-year-old has signed a three-year contract with the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman champions to continue his remarkable rise in the game after venturing on a school exchange to Nelson College in 2017.
Segner, a 1.92m, 108kg loose forward, captained Nelson College to an historic regional collegiate victory, captained the Crusaders under-20 and was named in the New Zealand Schools and Under-20 teams. He joined the Tasman Mako in 2020.
Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, who came across Segner in his final year as coach of the Mako, said he has all the attributes to make a success of his rugby career.
“I was impressed with him as a schoolboy and have followed him since. Not only does he have all the physical attributes and skillset, he has an outstanding work ethic,” said MacDonald.
“Anton is a young leader on and off the field and will be an excellent addition to the group of young talent at the Blues. These young guys have played together at higher honours and will be the future of our club.”
The young loose forward from Frankfurt said he is still pinching himself with the opportunity to join the Blues.
“You don’t get too many Germans coming here to take up rugby. I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities ahead of me but also the ones I have been blessed with so far. It has all seemed pretty surreal to me,” said Segner.
Segner said that while he calls Nelson his home away from home, he is very much at ease in bigger cities, having grown up in Frankfurt.
“I am excited with the opportunity of living back in a big city and everything that it has to offer. I am looking forward to that.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to have two trips to the States for rugby, and I’ll rate them up there with the best I’ve experienced.”
— The XV Rugby (@TheXV) October 27, 2021
He was attracted by the Blues development, their quality loose forwards and the overall challenge.
“Especially over the past couple of years, I was attracted by the track record the Blues have had and obviously now they are the reigning Super Rugby Trans-Tasman champions.
“There’s a massive opportunity not just to play but to learn from other players as well. The Blues have three All Black loose forwards and I will be definitely looking to learn from them and develop off them.
“To be honest, ever since going to school, I have been in and around the Crusaders environment. When the Blues opportunity came up, I was attracted to do something different, to challenge myself in another environment, and embrace that challenge.”
He spoke to some of his fellow New Zealand age group players who moved to Auckland to play for the Blues and they endorsed the environment at the club and the city. He was also attracted to play under MacDonald’s coaching group.
“Mum, dad and both my brothers are back in Germany but I talk to them just about every day and keep them up to date with what is happening over here. They are extremely happy for me and extremely proud of me. And when Jacinda allows, they look forward to coming over to watch me play for the Blues.”
– Blues Rugby
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