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'They never gave me a proper shot': Laumape opens up on social media about NZ departure

By Sam Smith
Ngani Laumape

Trending on RugbyPass

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Former All Black Ngani Laumape has opened up on social media to fans about leaving New Zealand for France after receiving an underwhelming contract offer from New Zealand Rugby back in 2021.

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The ex-Hurricanes’ midfielder left New Zealand after the 2021 season to take up a three-year deal with Stade Francias after reportedly being offered a salary less than what he was earning at the time.

Reports from the time from New Zealand Herald highlighted the difference from NZR’s offer as up to $400,000 per season less than what was available in France and despite his preference to stay, he ended up taking the overseas deal after being disrespected at the negotiation table.

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Laumape uploaded an old quote to his official Facebook page which sparked intense debate from New Zealand fans about his decision to leave and end his All Black career.

The quote read: “I offer something in the midfield that no other midfielder can offer in New Zealand,” which he said at the time of the contract negotiations.

After a fan suggested he should have stayed and fought for his All Black jersey, Laumape opened up about his experience at the time with the All Blacks who he felt ‘never gave him a proper shot’ despite being told that he was in the best form of the available options.

“Go back look footage and stats from 2017 till I left, I had better numbers than every midfield in NZ,” he wrote.

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“They never gave me a proper shot at 12 and then would give me feedback like you’re the form midfielder but just a tough situation.”

“Didn’t take me too to World Cup when everyone knew… then they didn’t want to pay me the same salary for my new contract…..would you still keep fighting or go set up your family and kids?”

The blockbusting No 12 missed selection for the World Cup in 2019 as Steve Hansen and the selectors opted for the young pair Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue and the experience of Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty.

The All Blacks midfield has not been settled since with multiple combinations vying to secure the positions under new head coach Ian Foster.

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It has been suggested that the All Blacks lack a power option in the mould of Laumape, bringing into question the decision to let him walk.

There have been reports that Laumape could make a return with the Manawatu Turbos in the NPC this season, but a return to Super Rugby with the Hurricanes is considered unlikely at this stage.

Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland last week said he would love to have the midfielder back if he was keen to play in New Zealand.

“I would always be interested in Ngani,” Holland told Stuff.co.nz.

“If he was keen to play in New Zealand I would be really interested but I think at this stage, unless something massively changes from NZ Rugby, he will probably be heading offshore at the end of the NPC.”

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