It’s a long way from a high-stakes Rugby World Cup match but Waisake Naholo took another step towards the global showpiece Japan with a handy performance in Dunedin club rugby on Saturday.
Picked in the No 14 jersey for the table-topping Harbour RFC against Kaikorai, Naholo grabbed the first try of the game inside the first five minutes as he took advantage of some space down the right-hand side.
The Hawks, coached by former Highlanders and Tonga loose forward Hale T Pole, tried to get Naholo involved from every restart as they romped to a 43-14 win.
Understandably, Naholo’s mere presence caused some jitters in the Kaikorai backline and Naholo’s committed kick-chase efforts showed his hunger levels with the All Blacks to name their Rugby Championship squad next Tuesday evening.
Naholo, who will join London Irish at the end of the Rugby World Cup, is not currently registered with a club in Taranaki and was given clearance by the union to stay in Dunedin, making him available for Harbour.