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Chiefs sign English lock from Canterbury
September 27, 2013
Matt Symons is making a name for himself in England © Getty Images
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The Chiefs have signed English lock Matt Symons for the 2014 Super Rugby season from under the noses of the Crusaders.

The Englishman, 24, has impressed for Canterbury in his first season at ITM Cup level since moving from English second-division club Esher, and the Chiefs moved as they had two gaps to fill at lock after losing co-captain Craig Clarke to Connacht and Romana Graham to Exeter Chiefs.

Symons' move to the two-time defending Super Rugby champions is just the latest chapter in a remarkable sporting story. He played for London club Saracens between the ages five and 17 before taking up rowing to become a member of the Great Britain program. He returned to rugby only after surgery failed to correct compartment syndrome in his forearms, thus ending his rowing career.

He decided last year to move to New Zealand, and younger brother Andrew Symons, now playing for ITM Cup Championship pacesetters Tasman, recommended he move to Christchurch, where he had attended Canterbury's International High Performance Unit and played for the High School Old Boys in the local club competition.

Matt Symons then played for the Canterbury B side, and this season he captained the Crusaders' Knights development team and played for the Crusaders in their friendly match against the Hurricanes in Levin in June, He has also been a regular starter for five-time defending ITM Cup Premiership champions Canterbury, and the Crusaders were reportedly keen to sign him for next season.

© AAP
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