All Black hero and Chiefs veteran Stephen Donald will likely rejoin his beloved Mooloos for yet another season of provincial rugby.
An official announcement from Waikato Rugby is due to be made in the next week or so ‘once the paperwork’ is complete.
Donald will join other big signing Zac Guildford, in what will be an otherwise inexperienced backline for Waikato. Key playmakers Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Willis Halaholo won’t feature this year, and with the departure of Shaun Stevenson, it leaves a bare backline with little quality experience without Donald’s leadership and Guildford’s sharp speed.
It would also make three seasons on the trot representing Waikato since returning to New Zealand after a brief stin in Japan and representing Bath in England.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie all but confirmed the news during a media session on Monday;
“I think he’s signed for Waikato, you’d have to speak to him about that though, but it would be a hell of a surprise not to see him pull on that Mooloos jersey again.”
The Legend Of Stephen Donald Grows And Grows
The former All Black is most known for his Rugby World Cup winning kick in 2011. Since then, Donald’s story has been heralded time and time again, but he’s remained true to his roots.
Donald, while still an active player, has taken on on more and more leadership behind the scenes, both for the Chiefs in Super Rugby and Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup. He’s mentored Damian McKenzie, and has played a crucial starring role in between managing injuries in some big games for the Chiefs.
The veteran first five is now 33 years old; but hasn’t been in talks with incoming Chiefs coach Colin Cooper about staying on in 2018. “I haven’t really looked that far ahead, I’m just happy to chip away day after day and I guess whatever happens will be.
“I’ve had an absolute ball over the past two years. I’ve really loved it and we have a great bunch of boys, it’s been the most fun playing rugby ever.”
Donald has amassed over 100 caps for the Chiefs since making his Super Rugby debut in 2009, and he has a further 60 appearances for Waikato in New Zealand’s Provincial Championship.
‘Beaver’ also featured 23 times for the All Blacks, between 2008 and 2011.
“Main photo credit”