Rugby: Naholo makes the cut for ABs

Waisake Naholo
Waisake Naholo
There was mixed news for southern fans when the All Black squad for the World Cup was named at Parliament last night.

In something of a shock, winger Waisake Naholo was named in the 31 man squad, despite concerns over his fitness, having broken his leg in his test debut against Argentina last month.

Straight after injuring his leg, he was ruled out of the rest of the season and his World Cup dream was thought to be over.

Naholo went back to Fiji and after some special alternative treatment his leg injury has healed.

Naholo's treatment involved a village doctor binding the injured leg with leaves, the exact nature of which has not been revealed.

Whatever Naholo did, it seems to have worked and he fulfilled his All Black dream last night by being picked for the World Cup squad.

Naholo (24) joins other Highlanders backs: halfback Aaron Smith, fullback Ben Smith and centre Malakai Fekitoa in the squad.

But the news was not so good for another Highlanders back, first five eighth Lima Sopoaga, who missed out on the squad.

Sopoaga (24) played his first test for the All Blacks last month against South Africa and had impressed in a composed display.

But with three quality and experienced first five eighths in front of him, he failed to make the cut. Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade will cover the No 10 jersey.

The squad contains just four players from the championship winning Highlanders, with the Hurricanes and Crusaders providing nine players, the Chiefs five and the Blues four players.

The team's first game is against Argentina on September 21 (NZ time).

All Blacks Rugby World Cup Squad

Forwards: Tony Woodcock, Wyatt Crockett, Owen Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Ben Franks, Dane Coles, Keven Mealamu, Codie Taylor, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Jerome Kaino, Liam Messam, Richie McCaw (c), Sam Cane, Kieran Read, Victor Vito

Backs: Aaron Smith, TJ Perenara, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Colin Slade, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, Conrad Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea, Ben Smith

Additional reporting NZME.

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