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The play that made Israel Dagg profess Emoni Narawa 'has deadset got to be' an All Black

By Ned Lester
Emoni Narawa with ball in hand for the Chiefs. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images

The ever-growing list of outside-backs vying for a spot in the All Blacks‘ World Cup campaign promises to give Ian Foster’s selection panel endless headaches with no respite until the 33-man squad is announced later this year.

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The unfortunate ACL injury to Sevu Reece has opened up the door for one player not previously selected, while Jordie Barrett’s move to the midfield may well provide another roster spot in the outsides.

In the likely case that Beauden Barrett is again selected as a first five-eighth – despite playing primarily at fullback in 2022 – there is an opportunity for two potential World Cup bolters before any of the incumbents are challenged.

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Those incumbents are Leicester Fainga’anuku, Caleb Clarke and Will Jordan, although Jordan was sidelined later in 2022 with an inner ear issue that made way for Mark Telea on the End of Year Tour.

Telea will again find himself in the running for a spot, along with the impressive Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson and the most recent attention grabber, Emoni Narawa.

Narawa’s form has caught the eye of many Super Rugby Pacific fans, including All Blacks coach Ian Foster, who acknowledged the 23-year-old’s form as well as the opportunity for selection in Reece’s absence, telling SENZ’ The Run Home that “we are putting the spotlight on that space, so it’s a good time to be playing well as an outside back.”

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One pundit who has been hesitant to endorse Narawa’s All Blacks contention is 66-cap outside back Israel Dagg, but after yet another dynamic outing for the Chiefs over the weekend, Dagg admitted he’s now aboard the Narawa hype-train.

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“There’s been a lot of hype about this player, and I haven’t bought into the hype yet … I’ve been so set on my certain players in this position,” Dagg told SENZ Breakfast.

“But over the weekend, I could understand why the hype is there, I can understand why he has been touted to be a bolter come the end of the year.

“This guy scored probably one of the most freakish individual tries I have ever seen.

“Emoni Narawa … when DMac passed him the ball and he did an outside step on I think it was Billy Harmon, got on the outside and then he stood Sam Gilbert up and he ran about 50 metres to score that try, that for me painted the picture of why people are taking genuine notice of this kid.

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“He is devastating. He has deadset got to be in the conversation come the All Blacks (selections) later in the year.

“With Sevu Reece out, you’ve got to take Emoni Narawa.”

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2 Comments
G
Ghassan Gaafar 399 days ago

what's that coming over the hill? is it a monster? is it a monster?

m
mikejjules 404 days ago

He almost butchered it. Ideally should have passed to the inside support

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