Chiefs coach breaks silence over reports of Lachlan Boshier's departure to Japan
Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes has broken his silence in the wake of reports that star loose forward Lachlan Boshier is set to leave the franchise at the end of the year.
The New Zealand Herald reports that Boshier will join Japanese Top League champions, the Panasonic Wild Knights, once his NPC commitments with Taranaki have come to an end this year.
One of the best uncapped players in New Zealand, the 26-year-old was considered by many to be the unluckiest player in the country to miss out on All Blacks selection last year after a standout campaign in Super Rugby Aotearoa.
A renowned turnover specialist, Boshier would be a quality addition to Robbie Deans’ star-studded Wild Knights squad, but would be an equally significant loss for the Chiefs and Taranaki.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB on Friday, Barnes, who is also leaving his position at the Chiefs, revealed he has mixed emotions about Boshier’s reported departure to Japan.
“I’m stoked for him, he’s got a deal that’s going to set him up for life, but you can’t help but be disappointed because he’s at a stage in his career now where he’s probably going to have the best three or four years in front of him,” Barnes said.
“He’s now a mature athlete, he’s done all the learning and is ready to deliver the goods.
“It’s one of those situations where he couldn’t crack getting into the top of the All Blacks, and the way he looks at it with the selection last year, he wasn’t really in their picture and made a decision to go.”
While many called for Boshier’s inclusion in the All Blacks, head coach Ian Foster opted for other young, inexperienced prospects such as Hoskins Sotutu, Akira Ioane, Cullen Grace and Du’Plessis Kirifi in his national set-up.
All four of those players are bigger athletes than Boshier, and Barnes said that reflected Foster’s selection philosophy, which doesn’t suit Boshier’s style of play.
“Lachie’s got his own strengths as far as continuity of rugby and how he operates in the wider channels. I’d like to think his instinctive abilities are ahead of the other guys, but it’s not something they see at the moment,” Barnes told Newstalk ZB.
“It’s one of those ones where every coach and every selector is different, and they’re looking for a player with different strengths. For the teams I’ve coached he fits the bill.
“He’s got a few things he needs to work on around his carry and the tight channels, but he’s got some other qualities that a lot of other players are miles behind in. Lachie didn’t fit that, so game over.”
Nevertheless, Barnes admired Boshier for his commitment to New Zealand Rugby, especially towards the Chiefs and Taranaki.
“He’s a very calculated person, deliberates well, is quite quiet. He doesn’t make decisions in a hurry so he would’ve sat on it for a while. I know he spoke to a lot of people to get their advice, and at the end of the day he’s done what’s best for him.
“He’s very loyal to the Chiefs and Taranaki so he had to weigh all that up as well. The deal he’s got at the moment is something top level so you can’t blame him for going when you finally hear the numbers.”
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