It took a while for Zarn Sullivan to stand a chance in his debut season with the Blues in Super Rugby in 2021, but patience has proven to be a virtue in recent weeks.
Sullivan, a Napier Boys’ High and Kings College product, said he was happy to have had the starting opportunities in recent weeks, but realized he still had a lot to learn.
Although he admitted wanting to be a starter was a natural state of mind, he said it had been an honor to secure a contract with the team so early in his career.
“Right now it looks good, but I just have to keep performing, keep training and do what I’m doing,” he said.
The differences from club rugby and the national championship were marked during the rise to Super Rugby level.
“It’s physical, it’s fast, it’s stimulating for your body, it’s mentally stimulating, so you always think, always on your toes and you have to keep improving every week,” he said. declared.
Nothing has changed with the move to trans-Tasman competition. The same impacts were involved, the same thinking and it was important to stay on top of that, despite how different it might look to the average bettor watching TV.
It was good to travel to Australia for the first round, which he had only done previously while playing for New Zealand schools, and he had had his first glimpse of Melbourne.
Although he played at the back for the Blues and for Auckland, which he focuses on full development, he still harbors a desire to come back to the top five eighths.
This calls into question some of the standards for the role as he is 6 feet 3 inches (1.90 m) tall.
“I’ve been playing there for a while, just at this level, I focus on the back and make sure I can do my best for the team,” he said.
It helped that Blues coach Leon MacDonald had a lot of experience as a full-back.
“I’m still learning, it’s only my second year in the back and Rangi [MacDonald] helped me a lot. “
It boiled down to painting pictures of the first five eighths opposing the attack and the defensive strategies involved in dealing with it.
“It’s things like that, it gave me a better understanding of where I should be, where I shouldn’t be, where I want to end up, where I can appear,” he said.
Sullivan made a first impression with his soaring left foot and was working to develop it with his right foot.
He’s also comfortable with long-distance penalty goals, as he showed in Sydney with a mid-race effort. He’s always been a specialist in this area and in the structure of the Blues with Otere Black operating up to and around 40m, Sullivan steps in for the longer shots.