Scottish scrum-half Finlay Christie named in New Zealand All Blacks squad
It's a reward for the 25-year-old’s recent form for Blues but, from a Scottish perspective, there will be a nagging sense of his having slipped through the net.
Born at Borders General Hospital near Melrose and raised in Peebles before the family emigrated to New Zealand when he was seven, Christie has forged an impressive professional career in the world’s premier rugby nation.
On Saturday, he was part of the Blues side which won their first Super Rugby title in 18 years, beating the Highlanders 23-15 in the final of the trans-Tasman tournament.
He is now in line to make his All Blacks debut next month when New Zealand play against Tonga on 3 July, then two Tests against Fiji, on 10 and 17 July.
Asked last year about the possibility of one day playing for Scotland, Christie said “never say never” in an interview with The Scotsman. However, that ship would now appear to have sailed.
The Christie family moved from Scotland to Pukekohe in south Auckland and Finlay and his older brother Gregor both blossomed athletically, Finlay representing New Zealand at gymnastics before focusing on rugby. Gregor, also a scrum-half, later returned to Scotland to play for Currie Chieftains.
Finlay Christie is one of four uncapped players in the 36-man New Zealand squad named by head coach Ian Foster. The others are Ethan de Groot, Quinn Tupaea and Ethan Blackadder.
The latter is the son of the former Edinburgh and All Blacks captain, Todd Blackadder, who also enjoyed a spell coaching in Scotland with the capital club.
The series against Tonga and Fiji will take place on home soil and kicks off a busy season for the All Blacks who could play up to 15 Test matches.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to pick a squad of 36,” said Foster. “We’ll need that sort of number to get through this year.
“Our goal is to be No1 in the world. That's what we want. And everything we do is about chasing that."