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New Zealand fans left asking one question after Hurricanes victory: 'How did NZ Rugby let Laumape go?'

By Sam Smith
Ngani Laumape. (Photo by Grant Down/Photosport)

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Ngani Laumape has played his final game for the Hurricanes – and what a game it was.

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The All Blacks midfielder finished the game with 96 metres and 11 tackle busts to his name, plus scored the opening try of the match. With a bit more luck, the 28-year-old could have finished with two more scores – but either way, Laumape had a storming last match.

While the former Warrior has only featured in cameo roles for the All Blacks throughout his three years in the national side, he’ll unquestionably be a mammoth loss for the Wellington franchise.

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Since shifting from rugby league back to union in 2016, Laumape has been an absolutely lethal ball-runner for the Hurricanes and tops the majority of their attacking stats over the past six years.

Since the start of the 2016 Super Rugby season, excluding last night’s fixture, Laumape has scored the most tries (47), made the most carries (779), clocked up the most metres gained (4282), beaten the most defenders (291) and made the most clean breaks (125) of any Hurricanes player.

Ahead of Friday’s game, Laumape confirmed that the contract presented to him by New Zealand Rugby was “disappointing”, which was why he’s made the decision to shift to France.

While he’s never made the same impact for the All Blacks as he has for the Hurricanes, Laumape’s performance against the Reds has understandably left many wondering why NZR weren’t willing to put more money on the table for the 28-year-old, with fans taking to social media to pose the question.

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Laumape will finish his career in New Zealand as the third-top try-scorer of all time for the Hurricanes, not far behind TJ Perenara and Julian Savea.

The Hurricanes’ win on Friday night put them in mathematical contention for the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final but the Highlanders’ bonus point victory over the Brumbies reduced the already small odds.

Currently second on the ladder, the Hurricanes’ will need both the Crusaders and Blues to lose their matches on Saturday against the Rebels and Western Force respectively – which is an unlikely scenario at best.

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New Zealand fans left asking one question after Hurricanes victory: 'How did NZ Rugby let Laumape go?'

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