The Ranfurly Shield, one of the most revered sporting trophies across the globe, is once again heading north from Canterbury to Taranaki.
Saturday’s challengers, boosted by All Blacks Tupou Vaa’i and Beauden and Jordie Barrett, built a 20-3 lead at halftime and despite a spirited comeback from Canterbury, Taranaki held strong to claim a 23-22 win.
The holders weren’t exactly light on firepower either, with Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Sam Whitelock, Richie Mo’unga and George Bridge all on deck for the game.
It wasn’t any of the All Blacks that captured fan’s attention, however. Instead, it was a man that was overlooked for Ian Foster’s first national selection who would have received his fair share of pats on the back after the game.
Chiefs and Taranaki loose forward Lachlan Boshier, who was such an exemplary performer throughout Super Rugby this season, re-announced himself to Foster and his co-selectors with one of the finest openside flanker performances of the modern era.
Nine turnovers in two games makes for pleasing reading, but Lachlan Boshier has been one of the Chiefs' top performers since he was first called up in 2016. @TomVinicombe spoke to the in-form flanker. #SuperRugby #ChiefsMana #AllBlackshttps://t.co/j4JHTFLQ4Y
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 26, 2020
Boshier has always been a reliable pilferer but the 25-year-old has impressed in 2020 with the timing of his steals – often, when his opposition are hot on attack and threatening the line.
In Saturday’s Ranfurly Shield clash, Boshier earned no fewer than five breakdown turnovers. The last – and possibly most important – came in the final minute of the match with Canterbury into their 16th phase of play and just eight metres out from the Taranaki tryline.
It was a match-winning play and just one more indication of how imperative it can be to have an out-and-out fetcher playing in the loose forwards. While Boshier has played his fair share of Super Rugby matches, a Ranfurly Shield match with All Blacks available is perhaps the highest pressure environment in which the openside flanker has flourished.
Boshier also produced 18 tackles in the game, just two short of his younger brother Kaylum and Taranaki hooker Ricky Riccitelli.
Punters throughout New Zealand were gobsmacked when Boshier was omitted from the North Island matchday squad for their clash with the South Island earlier this month and although his absence from the All Blacks was telegraphed, many were still disappointed when Boshier wasn’t announced as one of the nation’s potential new caps.
Following Saturday’s match, Twitter was alight with fans calling for Boshier to be brought into the All Blacks.
Lachlan Boshier confirms he is the best No 7 in New Zealand. #CANvTAR Surely ABs will right a wrong and pick him for TRC.
— Paul Cully (@paulcullystuff) September 19, 2020
— Paul Brown (@pebrown7) September 19, 2020
How on earth is Lachlan Boshier not in the All Blacks squad? No need to have Cullen Grace, Akira Ioane and Sotuto in the same squad. Boshier is a turnover monster #CANvTAR
— Ben (@BencerasaIe) September 19, 2020
— Stephen Phillips (@StevePhillipsXV) September 19, 2020
How good was that. How good is it watching the Barrett boys win the Shield for their home province. How good seeing Richie v BB at provincial level. We need to find a way to keep the comp like this. The crowds will flock when allowed. P.s How is Boshier not in the AB’s. #CANvTAR
— Frank (@GregAFC) September 19, 2020
Lachlan Boshier is ridiculously good at rugby #CANvTAR
— Joel Turner (@jtindahouse) September 19, 2020
— Tino Junior Poluleuligaga (@JIP2EZY) September 19, 2020
With Foster likely to take a 46-man squad to Australia in November for the Rugby Championship, there’s still an opportunity for Boshier to get the national call-up.
The All Blacks will gather in Whakatane following the current round of the Mitre 10 Cup in preparation for October’s Bledisloe Cup matches.
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