Discarded All Blacks centre Ngani Laumape has opened up for the first time since missing out on Rugby World Cup selection.
Laumape failed to make the four-man midfield chosen by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen last month, which includes two-time World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue and Anton Lienert-Brown.
Despite 108-cap veteran Owen Franks also missing out on the squad, the reaction to Laumape’s omission caused arguably the biggest stir on social media.
Laumape posted a photo this morning following last night’s Mitre 10 Cup match, where he helped Manawatu claim their first win of the season, with the caption: “While they sit around and criticise I’m gna [sic] let my actions speak for me. Have blessed Friday”.
All Black Ardie Savea, who replied with seven first pump emojis, was one of many who responded with support to Laumape’s post.
Israel Dagg wrote “Hissing game my bro,” while Ryan Crotty posted two black hearts.
Fans also chimed in with messages of support and encouragement.
“The world will never appreciate the good you do a million times, but will criticise the one wrong thing you do…But don’t be discouraged. Always rise above all the laughter and criticism. Stay Strong. !!!” one user wrote.
“Ngani you’re my favourite midfielder out there, absolute Beast!!! You go smash it bro, your talent is undeniable,” wrote another.
Hansen, who opted for experience with both Williams and Crotty despite the two of them having injury problems this year, said he believed Laumape deserved to be in the World Cup Squad when questioned over his selection decisions.
“Whoever we left out was gonna be disappointed and probably deserved to be in the team,” Hansen told media last week.
“In the case of Ryan he’s got a lot of experience and has been in the All Blacks leader group, he’s a quality player, he can play both second-five and centre and those little things probably edged him ahead of Naans (Laumape).”
Laumape had a hand in two Manawatu tries last night as they beat Northland 31-25 at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North.
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