How 'Rugby 08' inspired a massive career decision

Jono Kitto on the burst for Leicester. Photo / Getty
Jono Kitto on the burst for Leicester. Photo / Getty

Popular Playstation and computer game "Rugby 08" is an iconic game enjoyed by many, but it had a far more significant impact on one promising New Zealand rugby player.

Bay of Plenty halfback Jono Kitto took up a contract last year with famous English side Leicester Tigers, and when asked why he joined the club, Kitto had a unique reason.

"On 'Rugby 08' Leicester Tigers were the top team against the Crusaders," Kitto told BBC Radio Leicester.

"I was a Crusaders fan so I thought the Tigers were at the same level as them."

When looking to join a European side, Rugby 08 helped make Kitto's massive career decision a bit easier.

The former New Zealand under-20's representative said as a result of playing Rugby 08, Leicester were the only team he wanted to sign for.

"If I ever found myself in the Northern Hemisphere, that was the team I wanted to support or play for," said Kitto.

"In New Zealand, Manchester United is the only soccer team you hear about and Tigers are the same for rugby."

Kitto currently plays behind England international scrumhalf Ben Youngs, and has a powerful midfield combination of Jean De Villiers and Manu Tuilagi outside of him.

Fellow New Zealanders Brendon O'Connor and Mike Fitzgerald also play for the Tigers, as does Super Rugby players Peter Betham and Telusa Veainu.

However, it's hard to believe any of them have as obscurely brilliant a reason for joining Leicester as Kitto does.

Perhaps one day Kitto can sport Tigers colours on a Playstation game of his own.

- NZ Herald

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