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All Black ruled out of Rugby World Cup with ‘incredibly sad’ injury

By Finn Morton
Emoni Narawa, Sam Cane and Will Jordan of the All Blacks attend the New Zealand welcome ceremony at Cour Haute de l’Hotel de Ville ahead of the Rugby World Cup France 2023 on September 01, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

All Blacks wing Emoni Narawa will miss the Rugby World Cup and return home to New Zealand after sustaining an “incredibly sad” injury earlier in the week.


The All Blacks were just a matter of days away from their highly anticipated World Cup opener with hosts France when Narawa reinjured his back.

Narawa, 23, was burdened by a niggly back injury during The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup, but appeared to be on the road to recovery ahead of the sports showpiece event.

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Coach Ian Foster was “excited about where” Narawa was at in his recovery, but another cruel injury blow has ended the wingers Rugby World Cup before it’s even begun.

“It’s incredibly sad. In the Twickenham week, he ran his fastest time of the year, he was coming back, so his preparation has actually been really good, trending right up.

“It’s obviously been a niggling back since the Argentinian Test and he was coming right, he trained really well on Monday and it was actually the last thing he did in the skill block that he jarred it.

“It’s the other side of the disk and it’s incredibly sad for him. He’s worked hard to get here and we were excited about where he was at.


“The best thing for him now is to go and rehab at home. It’s not the nicest thing as a coach right at the start to tell someone they’re going home.

“He’s a popular part of this group and we know he’ll do the right thing.”

The All Blacks are firmly focused on their World Cup opener with France at the moment, but will look at making a “plan for a replacement” after that Test on Friday night.

Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson is an option if the New Zealand selectors decided to make a like-for-like replacement with another outside back, but Foster hinted at an addition to the forward pack.

Samipeni Finau and Ethan Blackadder are options, it would seem, if the All Blacks decided to call up a loose forward in Narawa’s unfortunate absence.


“We’ll weigh that up basically after Friday, just to see where we’re at,” Foster added.

“But clearly we have to make a change and it could be there, it could be in the loosies. We’re just looking at the progress of Brodie Retallick, Shannon Frizell and the likes of those guys and we’ll assess that after this weekend.”


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