My Moment

Fijian-born Waisake Naholo is cherishing his big moment after being named in the 41- member All Blacks squad for this year’s test matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup
22 Jun 2015 08:50
My Moment
The family of Waisake Naholo were delighted and proud when they learned yesterday that he was named in the All Blacks squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship and the test against Samoa. Naholo plays for the Dunedin-based Highlanders in the Super 15 Championship. PICTURED: From left: grandmother Torika Waqesi, parents Vasiti Naholo and Aporosa Naholo, with nephew Jone Vorenahu and sister Lavenia Helei in Nadroumai Village, Nadroga, yesterday. Photo: Sheetal Prasad

Fijian-born Waisake Naholo is cherishing his big moment after being named in the 41- member All Blacks squad for this year’s test matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup in England.

“It is really a big moment for me and my family,” Naholo told SUNsports from the Highlanders’ camp in Dunedin yesterday.

“I’m really humbled and excited to be included in the All Blacks squad.

“I owe it to God because without him I had been nothing and also my family for their constant support, all the coaches who believed in me and to everyone that has also helped me develop into what I’m today as a rugby player.

“My plan now is to play for the All Blacks and just do my best and hope I get picked up for the RWC,”Naholo said.

Naholo also wished the Vodafone Flying Fijians all the best in the RWC.

“I don’t have enough experience to provide any advice or words to motivate our Flying Fijians. But to wish them all the best and I know that Fiji will be right behind them all the way,” Naholo said.


Parents Delighted

The 24-year-old Highlanders winger has been in devastating form in New Zealand in the Super Rugby this year.

And his parents at Nadroumai in Nadroga were delighted with the news yesterday.

“We are grateful and thanks to God for helping my family, “his dad Aporosa Naholo said.

“We watched the Highlanders-Chiefs match last Saturday where it was announced that the All Blacks squad would be announced on Sunday at 2.30pm.

“We’ve been supporting him all the way and the message has been the same all along and that is to work hard and to put God first.

“I’ve no doubt that he will continue to achieve good things if he listens to our advice and we are grateful for his achievements so far. Nothing is impossible if God leads your way.”


Big achievement: Rokocoko

Former All Black s wing Joe Rokocoko says Naholo’s inclusion indicates Fijian players are among the most competitive players in the world.

“It’s tough for a Fijian to be selected to play for the All Blacks and Naholo has really made Fiji proud.

“I met him (Naholo) once when he came to play for our community rugby club in the local 7s tournament in Auckland in 2009 and he had this big dream,” Rokocoko said.

“It’s not easy to play for All Blacks. The All Blacks have tough selection and making it to this level is a great achievement for Naholo.

“Naholo has what it takes to play in the RWC,” Rokocoko said.

“He (Naholo) has this big dream and is very hardworking which is why Fijian rugby players are successful at this level

“Naholo was dropped from the Blues in New Zealand, but he came back and proved himself and got the contract with the Highlanders to make it all the way to play for the All Blacks,”Rokocoko said.

Rokocoko said Naholo’s selection in the All Blacks will also inspire the Vodafone Flying Fijians at the RWC.

“Fijians have passion for rugby as they play rugby at an early age and Naholo’s achievement reflects the calibre of Fijians being great players,” Rokocoko said.

Naholo is the fourth Fijian winger to make it into the All Blacks after Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Joeli Vidiri.

It took four years for a Fijian player to make it into the All Black side after the departure of Sivivatu (2011), Rokocoko (2010) and Vidiri (1998).

The All Blacks squad will assemble on Auckland’s North Shore on Wednesday this week for a three-day camp minus the 18 players in the Hurricanes and Highlanders, who will be preparing for this weekend’s Super Rugby semifinal matches.

Following the camp, the All Blacks will re-assemble in Auckland on Wednesday July 1 to prepare for the test against Samoa.

The squad will be trimmed to 31 players in August for the World Cup.



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