Waisake Naholo

Unwanted All Blacks Waisake Naholo and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi in Taranaki XV

If the pair are to have any chance of earning a recall for the All Blacks' title defence at the Rugby World Cup in Japan they will have to produce outstanding performances for Taranaki in the Mitre 10 Cup and also hope injuries strike the national side.

Right wing Naholo and halfback Tahuriorangi were unable to do enough to impress the All Blacks selectors during the Super Rugby season, and as a consequence their chances of being invited to the World Cup plunged.

Highlanders start All Black Waisake Naholo against Stormers

A week after Naholo was named to face the Lions and then withdrawn, the All Blacks wing has been handed a start against the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday (1.05am, NZ time).

Naholo goes straight back into the No 14 jersey for the crucial game against the Stormers, with the Highlanders desperate for a win to keep themselves in a playoffs spot before they have a bye week.

"Waisake has come through the week well," Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger said on Friday.

All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo signs with English club London Irish

The All Blacks wing has endured a frustrating Super Rugby campaign with the Highlanders this year and hasn't played since suffering a knee injury at training last month.

However, he could return to action during the team's upcoming trip to South Africa.

While the length of the contract was not revealed, Naholo was glad to have secured his future with London Irish. But the 28-year-old said he was still 100 per cent focused on his short-term goals with the Highlanders and All Blacks.

All Blacks and Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo suffers knee injury

Naholo, who is currently in a knee brace, has undergone an MRI scan – revealing a grade two MCL injury.

He suffered the injury at Highlanders training on Monday.

The injury could not come at a worse time for the Highlanders who are without All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith for a similar time frame due to an ankle injury.

It is also lousy timing for Naholo as he seeks a resurgence in form ahead of the Rugby World Cup, which starts in Japan in September.

Naholo returns with Havili set for test debut

Naholo has been named on the right wing for Sunday morning's test against Argentina in Buenos Aires replacing Nehe Milner-Skudder.

He hasn't played a rugby championship this year.

The Crusaders David Havili is set to make his test debut having been named in the reserves with Damian McKenzie again named at fullback.

Anton Lienert-Brown will start at centre with Ngani Laumape named in the reserves as back cover.

Naholo sticking with Highlanders

Naholo had been weighing up a move to the Chiefs for 2018, however in a social media video posted after the Highlanders' captain's run in Dunedin, he confirmed his intention to stay in the south for one more year.

RNZI reports the 26-year-old will start on the right wing for the Highlanders in today's quarter-final against the Crusaders.

Naholo's decision is welcome news for the Highlanders, following the confirmation that mid-fielder Malakai Fekitoa will leave at the end of the season to take up a contract in France with Toulon.

     

Ioane and Naholo dropped for Lions decider

Speedsters Rieko Ioane and Waisake Naholo are out, and Israel Dagg has been shifted from fullback to the right wing.

They'll meet an unchanged Lions starting line-up and bench - with captain Sam Warburton again leading the 23 who won the second test - as coach Warren Gatland sticks to his winning formula.

 It's the first time since 1992 that the Lions have kept the same starting 23 for consecutive tests.

Jordie Barrett is thrown into a pressure-cooker role at fullback in what will be the 20-year old's first Test start.

Naholo and Lienert-Brown in for All Blacks as injuries force Hansen's hand

Hansen's hand has been forced by injuries sustained by full-back Ben Smith and centre Ryan Crotty in their 30-15 win in the first Test in Auckland last Saturday.

Smith failed a head-injury assessment while Crotty suffered a hamstring strain.

As a result Israel Dagg moves from wing to full-back with Naholo, a try scorer in Highlanders' 23-22 victory over the Lions, taking his spot out wide. Lienert-Brown comes in for Crotty at outside centre.

Naholo makes test statement

The Fijian-born wing didn't just put up his hand for the No 14 jersey during the Highlanders' thrilling 23-22 win against the Lions in Dunedin on Tuesday night, he practically got on the blower to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and demanded it. 

"Hopefully I did," Naholo said when asked if he thought he made a statement ahead of the first test in Auckland on Saturday week.

All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo set to return for Highlanders against Sunwolves

The dynamic 12-test All Blacks winger, along with first-five-eighth Lima Sopoaga, were both injured against the Blues at Eden Park in Super Rugby round three on March 11.

Fast forward more than a month and Naholo is back in training after recovering from his hamstring injury and is in contention to be named later this week to take the field for the Highlanders after playing 40 minutes of club rugby in Taranaki for Spotswood United.

Sopoaga is still doing his recovery and performance programme and is likely to be considered for selection in two weeks.