Unwanted wing Naholo to spend time in sevens
Waisake Naholo has opted to head back to sevens instead of taking up the second year of his Blues contract.
"I had a talk to JK [Blues coach John Kirwan] after the Super Rugby season and he thought another year with the sevens would help me and I could hopefully come back next year," he said.
Naholo, 22, was used sporadically by the Blues this year and was released to play in the Sevens World Cup, won by New Zealand in Russia.
An indifferent season with Taranaki in the national provincial championship also saw him released to play in the first International Rugby Board world series tournament on the Gold Coast last month, a tournament also won by New Zealand.
"I'm pretty happy doing that because I love playing sevens," Naholo said.
"I was pretty lucky to get to go to the World Cup and I was happy with how it went in Australia, even though I wasn't in the best shape."
A knee injury picked up during Taranaki's NPC match against Auckland was still troubling him on the Gold Coast, but he was nearing getting over that and had been training well as he prepares for the next IRB tournament in Dubai later this month.
Naholo admitted he felt more comfortable at this stage of his career in the sevens squad than in the Blues. Not that he was giving up getting back into Super Rugby.
The former New Zealand under-20 world championship winner just felt he needed some confidence and that should come on the back of consistent game time.
With tournaments in Dubai, South Africa, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scotland and England still to come on the IRB circuit, Naholo should be kept busy through to May next year, while he should also be able to fit in some club rugby.
Naholo's absence from the Blues has left Taranaki with 11 players scattered around Super Rugby – Kane Barrett and Jamison Gibson-Park (Blues); Rhys Marshall (Chiefs); Beauden Barrett, James Broadhurst, James Marshall, Andre Taylor and Blade Thomson (Hurricanes); Kurt Baker, Chris King and Jarrad Hoeata (Highlanders)
Taranaki Daily News