Star Chiefs flanker Lachlan Boshier has opened up on his omission from last year’s All Blacks squad, revealing he hasn’t been in much contact with the national selectors about his international prospects.
Boshier was one of the standout players in New Zealand last year, flourishing in Super Rugby, Super Rugby Aoteaora and the Mitre 10 Cup for the Chiefs and Taranaki.
Renowned particularly for his ability at the breakdown, but also his tackling and high defensive work rate, Boshier turned the heads of many fans and pundits, who believed All Blacks honours were in the reckoning for the uncapped 26-year-old.
Selection in the North Island squad for the North vs South clash was as good as it got for the flanker, though, as he missed out on the match days squad to the likes of fellow loose forwards Akira Ioane, Ardie Savea, Hoskins Sotutu and Dalton Papalii.
It was a similar story when the All Blacks squad was named the day after the inter-island derby, with Boshier’s name missing from the 35-man cohort.
Even when Savea was a late arrival to Australia for the All Blacks’ Tri-Nations campaign due to paternity leave, Boshier was overlooked as his replacement, with the bulky frame and physicality of Du’Plessis Kirifi preferred instead.
That left Boshier without any of the international accolades that many felt he deserved due to his performances at the lower levels of the game, but that hasn’t deterred him from continuing to play the game as he sees fits.
“You don’t want to be someone else – you can only be yourself,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
“Everyone is a different player and there’s different types of sevens around. I’m happy with how I play the game and if other people aren’t happy with that then so be it.”
Just how he played the game last year came under consideration once he returned to action in Super Rugby Aotearoa last year.
After starring as one of the finest Chiefs players in the first few rounds of Super Rugby in January, February and March, Boshier went into the COVID-19 lockdown as among New Zealand’s most in-form players.
Boshier struggled upon his return to action in Super Rugby Aotearoa, though, with an alteration to the breakdown laws yielding 58 penalties in the opening weekend of the makeshift New Zealand competition.
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“They stuffed around with the laws last year and it put a dent in the game,” Boshier told the Herald.
“It was frustrating the way they played around with the breakdown. It took a few games to get right.
“I don’t know why they’re trying to change things so much. At the start of Super Rugby Aotearoa they brought in all these new law interpretations and then halfway through it’s back to normal. Mentally that drains you as well – it becomes frustrating.”
It took some time, but Boshier eventually found his feet under the new law interpretations, finding the same vein of form he was in the pre-COVID-19 version of Super Rugby.
That wasn’t enough to garner an All Blacks call-up, nor was it enough to guide the Chiefs to a single Super Rugby Aotearoa victory, but Boshier remains optimistic about his prospects this season.
“I haven’t had too many chats with those sorts of guys [the All Blacks selectors],” he said.
“It is what it is. You can only play as well as you do while you’re out there.
“There’s definitely plenty of competition in the loose forwards around the country. You can only control what you do so I’m always trying to be a better player. The rest takes care of itself.
“I’ll just keep going with what I’m doing and slowly progress in most areas. I’m pretty happy with how my game is at the moment. I really loved my footy last year; keeping it well balanced is key for me. We’ve got some good coaches here at the Chiefs so I’ll keep working with them to grow my game.”
The Chiefs kick-off their Super Rugby Aotearoa season against the Highlanders at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on March 5.
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