Ennor schools up his University teammates

Braydon Ennor, sporting a bandaged knee, has impressed on and off the field during his recovery...
Braydon Ennor, sporting a bandaged knee, has impressed on and off the field during his recovery from a knee injury at club level for University. Photo: Getty Images
It’s been the ultimate learning experience for the University backline, but head coach Nigel Smith backs Braydon Ennor to pursue higher honours this weekend - if the All Black is required by the Crusaders.

Ennor has been a welcome addition to the University squad for the past fortnight in the Christchurch Metro Cup competition as he accelerates his recovery from a serious knee injury. His game time has coincided with the club climbing up the competition ladder after two losses.

The 23-year-old centre-wing could be named on the bench for the Super Rugby Aotearoa final with the Chiefs at Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday, when Scott Robertson reveals his 23-man squad tomorrow.

And if 90 minutes of game time since last September is not sufficient for a decider, Smith would be delighted to give Ennor another outing against New Brighton at Rawhiti Domain on Saturday before the transtasman Super Rugby tournament kicks off next Friday.

Ennor’s on and off-field presence has been an undeniable boost for University, who bounced back from defeats to Linwood and champions Lincoln University to beat Sumner and Belfast.

Smith said Ennor’s role this weekend was debated during a regular Zoom call between the coaching staff on Monday after his impressive hour-long involvement against Belfast.

"We were kind of split. You've got guys that have done the hard yards but you want to pick the best players for the team. If I was Razor (Robertson) I'd be picking the best players. If he's the best player I'd pick him,” Smith said.

He thought Ennor was primed to belatedly contribute to the Crusaders quest for a fifth successive Super Rugby crown.

“Braydon doesn’t show any signs of any hangover from the injury,” Smith said.

“I think he’s a 100 per cent ready, but it’d be nice to have him (against New Brighton).

"He's three or four steps ahead of everyone else in the backline and he's really good at giving them insight. As usual with University you've got a lot of kids straight out of school, Braydon doesn't stop contributing."

While University improved to seventh, last season’s runners-up Marist Albion are the only unbeaten team heading into round five, with a maximum 20 competition points.

They feature in arguably the clash of the weekend when they host second-placed Linwood at Edgar McIntosh Field.

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