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'Emerging Player of the Year' misses out on Super Rugby squad selection

By Ned Lester
Josh Jacomb with ball in hand for Taranaki. Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images

The man who steered Taranaki to NPC glory has surprisingly not made it into a Super Rugby Pacific squad. Instead, Josh Jacomb will spend the 2024 season tantalisingly close to the Super Rugby action as a member of the Chiefs’ wider training group.

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The 22-year-old had a breakout year with the Taranaki outfit, taking home the Cup after an exhilarating 22-19 victory in the final over Hawkes Bay.

In a competition with an abundance of former and aspiring All Black talent, it was Jacomb who was awarded the No. 10 jersey in the 2023 NPC Form XV, and rightly so as the Sacred Heart College product owned the first five-eighth role and combined with fullback Stephen Perofeta to inspire his side to seven wins from 10 matches.

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The high praise of the youngster continued from former All Black James Parsons, who awarded Jacomb the “Emerging Player of the Year” award on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod‘s awards show.

“I’ve gone with Taranaki’s first five Josh Jacomb,” Parsons explained. “He is something to watch, I really enjoyed watching him over the NPC.

“I don’t know if he’s in a Super (Rugby) squad, but man, if there’s a 10 that goes down, I’d love to see him up in the Blues.

“He’s got a great relationship with Stephen Perofeta, obviously from Taranaki and he was schooled in Auckland.

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“He’s got a bright future, he is really, really good. All around. He can carry hard to the line, he’s got a kicking game, he got a number of 50/22s. He was outstanding.”

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In the NPC semi-final, Jacomb almost single-handedly outscored Canterbury, racking up 125 metres with the ball in hand in a 23-16 victory that sent the serial winners packing.

It was an elimination of the young Aucklander’s favourite team, despite his region of birth.

“I was Crusaders for one man only, Dan Carter,” Jacomb told Stuff the week of the final. “My dad, he is a very hard-out Blues supporter, so when the Blues always played the Crusaders at Eden Park when I was a bit younger, we’d be going to those games and whoever won got bragging rights.”

Finishing the competition with the sixth most points scored, Jacomb provides an exciting reserve option should the Chiefs lose the services of Damian McKenzie, Josh Ioane or Kaleb Trask.

“I definitely am feeling comfortable out there (at this level),” he continued. “I think it’s a mix of just making sure I’m preparing throughout the week, so I am just going out there with a clear mind of how I want to play and what I feel needs to happen for us to play well as a team.

“Just having the mindset of not coming off the field, leaving any what ifs or any stone unturned. I just want to leave it all out there, whether it’s 40 minutes, 60 or 80.”

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