Juddy hits the bigtime at the ‘Canes

Halfback Richard Judd is the Steamers’ latest Super Rugby graduate. Photo: Chris James.

Some big changes in life lie ahead for Richard Judd - the Bay of Plenty’s latest full-time Super Rugby contract-holder.

But, for the moment, family time, surfing, a spot of fishing and helping his father-in-law build a new house take priority.

Juddy is one of seven of this year’s Steamers to ink a full-time Super Rugby contract, and the only newbie. He’s joining the Hurricanes as one of their three halfback options.

He’s enjoyed short-term call-ups before, but this is the first time he’s had the satisfaction of knowing his Mitre 10 Cup performances for the Steamers have earned him the big gig.

“I was pretty bloody stoked to be honest,” he says.

“For these last four or so years, it’s been injury replacement – I’ve been doing a lot of that, which is in and out and trying to juggle the work and family side of things. It has been pretty tough.

“Getting the full contract is a bit of security as well. It’s awesome to be there for the whole season and get stuck into it.”

It’s been a progression for Juddy, grabbing chances as they’ve come along at his native Thames Valley, then Counties Manukau, the Steamers, and now the Wellington-based Super Rugby outfit.

“I’ve always been massive on opportunities. So if there’s an opportunity there, I’ll take it.

“It’s all to better myself. There was an opportunity with the Hurricanes that I took. I’m a Thames Valley man and the Chiefs are my region, but I’ve looked up to all of the Super Rugby teams regardless.”

The pace of life will pick up when he and his family move down to the capital before he clocks on with the ‘Canes on January 6. In the meantime, there’s a chance for a bit of rest and relaxation, but work still has to be done.

“I’m just trying to stick to the programme that the Hurricanes have given me,” he says, “so I’m still training a bit.

“But I’m definitely taking time off to do a bit of fishing and surfing, and a bit of family time as well.

“I’m just trying to not take my mind fully off rugby but have that little break, because it’s been a pretty big season.”

At the Hurricanes he’ll be playing alongside some pretty big names, like Beauden Barrett, and competing for game time with All Black halfback TJ Perenara. It’s all part of the attraction, he says.

“I’m just real keen to get stuck in and learn off them. I’ve spent a bit of time with them this year and they’re real keen to teach as well.

“I took out of it, especially from TJ, how he is as a person, just how competitive he is, and you can see why he is where he’s at.

“Trying to compete with him is going to be beneficial for my game as well.”

With only six of his teammates at the Steamers earning full-time Super Rugby contracts, he feels for those that missed out, but says many of them will be in line for call-ups.

“They’ve definitely shown what they’ve got, especially the new guys like the locks, Aaron Carroll and Kane Le’aupepe. They had a bloody good season and I’d say they’ll be on the radar for the Super coaches too.”

Persistence is what got him where he is, and it’ll work for his Steamers mates as well.

“Keep going at it,” he says. “It’ll pay off in the end if you put in the hard work.”