Czekaj feels at home at full back

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Sep 2010


Chris Czekaj is loving life at full back after wearing the No15 shirt for the Blues’ opening two Magners League fixtures.

The 24-year-old had previously been seen as an out-and-out wing prior to his switch at the end of last season.

But, having adapted to his new role even quicker than expected, Czekaj has no doubt as to where his future lies.
"I now see myself as a full back and then a wing,” said Czekaj, who appeared in 11 Magners League games last term.

"It's going really well and fullback is definitely an option for me now.

"The roles are quite similar but you get a lot more space and more ball. The main difference is positioning.”

Former All Black Ben Blair was the region’s first-choice 15 last term, with the Kiwi impressing so regularly that he was named in the season’s Magners League Dream Team.

But with Blair currently out injured, Czekaj is making the most of his new opportunity.

And if he continues to perform consistently for the Blues, Czekaj is hopeful that an international recall may follow.

With Blair turning 31 next year and Wales regular Lee Byrne 30, Czekaj believes he can cover fullback for club and country and become the long-term successor for both.

“It's always good to have a couple of positions – this gives me more opportunities for the Blues and internationally,” added Czekaj, who is still regularly reminded of the horrific leg break he suffered on Wales duty in Australia three years ago.

"Lee Byrne is a very good player but there isn't really anyone underneath him. Hopefully I can be that person. We are quite similar in that we both have a big boot and are strong runners.

"At the end of last season things started feeling good and started coming together for me following injury and I have carried that through to this season.

"Everything has come together and memories of the injury are at the back of my mind. It hasn't been on my mind on the pitch for a few years and hopefully people will stop asking about it!"


O’Connor looking for European response from Ulster

Alan O’Connor is hoping he and his Ulster team-mates can give a better account of themselves on the European stage when Exeter Chiefs come to town on Saturday. Ulster’s European adventure this season got off to a disappointing start as the Guinness PRO12 leaders were downed 28-13 by Bordeaux Bègles on Sunday. But the Ulstermen […]