Naholo reacts to All Blacks snub
REACTION: Waisake Naholo has posted a farewell message on Instagram just a day after missing out on the All Blacks squad for the opening two games of the Rugby Championship.
While this does not mean that he has missed out on a World Cup place, it is feared that this may be a sign that his All Blacks career is over for now, as he moves to England with London Irish next season.
Naholo has been overlooked by Steve Hansen in favour of the uncapped Braydon Ennor and Sevu Reece, whose campaigns with the Crusaders have moved them ahead of the 26-cap Naholo in the pecking order.
The 28-year-old thanked the Highlanders on Instagram for “giving me an opportunity to live my dream and do what I love,” as his final game for the side would have been the Super Rugby quarter-final loss to the Crusaders.
View this post on Instagram
Like sand in an hourglass, the last grain of sand has finally dropped and my time is up here at the Landers ⏳⌛️ I’ve really enjoyed my time down here in the deep south, met some great men and made some unreal memories too. Thanks so much @highlandersteam for giving me an opportunity to live my dream and do what I love. Thank you as well to all Landers fans and supporters for making me love putting the Blue and Gold jersey on for you all, and also making FSB Stadium my favourite place to play. I will miss it. 💙💛 Vinaka & Moce re 🙏. #227 #OverAndOut #BestDaysOfOurLives #keepitdeepandkeepitooonnn
It had been speculated all season that Naholo may miss out on a place in the World Cup, particularly with the form of the Crusaders’ outside backs. Hansen may still have plans for him as the Rugby Championship progresses, but he will not get another chance to impress his coach.
At only the age of 28, it is more than likely that he will still be playing come the 2023 World Cup in France. However, this move to London Irish has put his international career on hold, and it is unknown whether he will return and fight for a test spot again.
Since making his debut for the Highlanders in 2013, Naholo went on to play 63 times, scoring 15 tries. He was part of the team that won the Super Rugby title in 2015, making his debut for the All Blacks that same year in the World Cup. However, as it always is in New Zealand, a new generation of players have emerged since then and have overtaken the winger.