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All Blacks prospect Lachlan Boshier 'keen to stick around' in Japan

By Tom Vinicombe
Lachlan Boshier. (Photo by Jeremy Ward/Photosport)

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Almost halfway through his two-year contract with the Saitama Wild Knights, New Zealand loose forward Lachlan Boshier is loving his time in Japan and has no regrets taking his name out of contention for the All Blacks.


Boshier was one of the top-performing flankers in Super Rugby from 2019 to 2021 and was regularly touted as a potential All Black but the cards never quite fell the 27-year-old’s way. Sam Cane, Ardie Savea and Du’Plessis Kirifi were all selected ahead of the out-and-out fetcher and Boshier understandably made the call last year to link up with Robbie Deans’ Wild Knights for the 2022 Japan Rugby League One season – a move which has been hugely beneficial for both parties.

Currently, Saitama are undefeated with two rounds left to play in the competition but sit third on the overall ladder having forfeited two games due to positive Covid cases in the squad.

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Reflecting on Super Rugby’s inaugural Super Round.
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Reflecting on Super Rugby’s inaugural Super Round.

Boshier has been a key contributor in their success this season, having featured in 10 or their 12 matches played to date.

“I’m loving it so far. It’s been a good first six months,” Boshier told reporters on Tuesday. “The boys have been very good and it’s been a great team to be a part of. Still just trying to find my way a little bit – different language, different culture – but loving it so far.

“I’m very happy. Loving it over here and just experiencing something new and challenging myself, which is probably what I needed.”

Playing in New Zealand is a prerequisite for earning selection in the All Blacks (except in rare circumstances for proven performers) which means that Boshier has effectively removed himself from contention from playing test rugby. While that was undoubtedly a difficult decision to make, it means the former Chiefs and Taranaki fetcher can simply focus on the here-and-now without having to worry about whispers of higher honours.


“You definitely don’t feel the pressure over here as much in terms of the media and whatnot,” he said. “It’s nice to come over here and it’s almost like a bit of a fresh start and just gives me a chance to just settle in and play some code and not really worry too much about those external factors, which has been nice.”

“You can only do what you can do,” said Boshier of his time in NZ and gunning for All Blacks selection. “I thought I played some good code back home and done everything I could but it obviously wasn’t good enough. Obviously, I’ve taken a different pathway and looked overseas and here I am now.

“Sort of come over here to experience a new culture and new style of footy. Just getting stuck into footy at the moment for the next couple of years and see where that takes me.”



Former England international George Kruis – a teammate of Boshier’s at Saitama – says that while plenty of thought has to go into the composition of a team, not just individual abilities, Boshier certainly wouldn’t let the black jersey down and that NZ’s loss is Japan’s gain.

“He’s really good, isn’t he? He’s a good player,” said the 2019 World Cup finalist. “I think Pana have done very well in terms of getting him at the age that he is. Robbie’s planning for team balance is brilliant. And Lachie’s a great player. You can see why he was there or thereabouts.

“But you can also understand that sometimes [players] are picked because there might be someone else in the team who’s selected and it’s a balance of the backrow or so on. You can understand why coaches select teams and why they have to leave players as good as someone like Lachie in or out at stages.

“I think he’ll do a lot of good coming and playing over here, experiencing different rugby, and I’m sure that he’ll go back at some point and pick up some caps when his time’s right or when he fits the coaching plan. He’s a good man on and off the field.”

Boshier unsurprisingly hasn’t heard anything from the All Blacks selectors since relocating to Japan and while he would “never say never” when it comes to playing test rugby, his focus is very much on the current season with the Wild Knights, which will head into the semi-finals of the competition in three weeks’ time.

Known as an exceptional snaffler of the ball at the breakdown, Boshier didn’t have to adjust his technique too much when arriving in Japan. Even so, tweaking his methods would not have been a foreign concept after the man law interpreation changes that the gmae has undergone in recent seasons.

“It’s a little bit different,” he said of the refereeing in Japan. “There’s obviously so many changes the last few years, especially in New Zealand. You’re always changing or trying to get better in certain areas but coming over here, interpretations are a little bit different. Also just understanding how the refs ref over here. But there are some bloody good jackallers over here – very strong over the ball.”

“You get screamed at pretty quickly [at the ruck] and you sort of get the gist of it,” he added.


Deans, the man who lured Boshier to Japan, has also fully adopted the Japanese approach to play and was the major factor in Boshier’s decision to part ways with the Chiefs at the end of last year.

“He’s been really good actually. He’s a good man to get around. He’s always offering little tricks and work-ons at training and getting around all the boys and helping them out,” said Boshier. “He’s been really good, just a different way of coaching a little bit as well, which is always good. It’s been nice with a change-up. Really enjoying him and keen to stick around with him for a bit longer.

“I think he’s adapted to the Japanese style and he knows how it works over here, lets the boys attack from anywhere. He’s pretty keen to play that attacking flair. I think we’ve just got a good mix here with the boys and also the coaches. I think he’s just got a good mix and a good structure going on.

“He obviously knows what’s going on around the world, watches a lot of code. I’d say he has his finger on the pulse on what most players are doing. Just getting in contact, really, was a huge thing for me – personally giving me a ring a couple of times. He knew what page I was on, which definitely helped. Just a good understanding of where I was at in my career and how he could help me. And also just the style of rugby over in Japan, if it was suited for me or not. Just little things like that which helped getting me over here.”

The Saitama Wild Knights – who have guarenteed themselves a spot in the semi-finals – are set to play the Green Rockets and Kubota Spears in the final two rounds of the regular season. Back to back wins would ensure a second-place finish and home advantage for the sudden death matches set to begin next month.


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