Anton Russell Lienert-Brown, born on 15 April 1995, is a talented New Zealand rugby union player known for his versatility as a second five-eighth or Centre. He currently represents the Chiefs in Super Rugby and Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup. Lienert-Brown made his debut for the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks, in 2016, marking the beginning of a successful international career.
Early Life and Development:
Born and raised in Christchurch, Lienert-Brown emerged from the Crusaders' rugby system, spending his developmental years within their ranks. He attended the renowned rugby school Christchurch Boys' High School and pursued a degree in Sports and Leisure at Waikato University. His older brother, Daniel, is also a professional rugby player and currently represents the Highlanders in Super Rugby.
Rise to Prominence:
Lienert-Brown first gained prominence at the First Fifteen level while playing for Christchurch Boys' High School. His performances caught the attention of selectors, and he was subsequently chosen for the New Zealand Under-20 side in both 2014 and 2015. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Chiefs in 2014 at the age of 18, initially playing in the unfamiliar role of wing.
Lienert-Brown secured a starting position in the Chiefs' midfield in 2016 and quickly established himself as a key performer for the team. He showcased his skills as an inside centre, contributing to the Chiefs' impressive attack and playing a pivotal role in their record-breaking 76 team tries that season. Not only was he adept at breaking through defensive lines and distributing the ball effectively, but his quick line speed and defensive capabilities were also highly regarded.
All Blacks Debut and Success:
His consistent form for the Chiefs in the Super Rugby season earned Lienert-Brown a call-up to the All Blacks squad as an injury replacement for the 2016 Investec Rugby Championship. He made his debut against Australia in Wellington, and by the end of the year, he had amassed nine test appearances for the national team. In 2018, he added 11 more test caps, solidifying his place as one of the All Blacks' preferred midfielders.
Lienert-Brown was included in the All Blacks squad for the NZ Lions series and played a role in the first and third tests. His performances earned him recognition and further opportunities to represent his country. He continued to excel, and in March 2020, he signed a new three-year deal, committing to New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs until the next Rugby World Cup in France.
Personal Life and Endeavors:
Outside of rugby, Lienert-Brown has opened up about his struggles with mental health, sharing his experiences and raising awareness. In 2021, he ventured into the business world by co-founding an RTD (Ready-to-Drink) beverage brand called "Grins" with former Chiefs teammates Damian McKenzie and Stephen Donald.
Despite facing setbacks due to injuries, Lienert-Brown remains a highly regarded player in New Zealand rugby, known for his versatility, skillset, and commitment to the game.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Lienert-Brown has been named in the squad for New Zealand.
|2014 - present
|2015 - present
|2016 - present
|2020 - present
|New Zealand U20's
|2014 - 2015
|Christchurch Boys High School