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‘To the brothers, good luck’: All Black opens up on devastating injury

By Finn Morton
Emoni Narawa of the All Blacks listens to team doctor Dr. James McGarvey during a New Zealand All Blacks training session on September 06, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

In an emotional video shared on the All Blacks’ Instagram page, wing Emoni Narawa has opened up about the “tough” injury that ruled him out of the Rugby World Cup.

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Before a ball was kicked or a whistle blown at the sports showpiece event, All Blacks coach Ian Foster provided an “incredibly sad” update on Narawa.

Narawa, 23, appeared to be heading towards a return to the Test arena following a decent stint on the sidelines with a back injury. But, quite cruelly, things took a turn.

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In the leadup to the tournament opener between New Zealand and hosts France earlier this month, Narawa reinjured his back during a training session in Lyon.

Coach Foster later confirmed that Narawa’s World Cup campaign was over before it’d even begun with the electric outside back set to return home to New Zealand.

The All Blacks have released a tear-jerking video of Narawa’s last moments with the team. Grouped together as brothers-in-arms, the New Zealanders farewelled their departing teammate.

“It’s quite tough. You dream to play in a World Cup,” Narawa said.

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“It sort of challenges you mentally but I’m really lucky to have a good support system. Might have taken me a while to accept it but it is what it is.

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“To the brothers, good luck. I believe that we can go all the way and we’ll be supporting them all the way through.”

As Narawa put it, his World Cup “dream” was coming to an end – at least for another four years – but someone else’s was about to become a reality.

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Backrower Ethan Blackadder was flown to France as an injury replacement for Narawa. Blackadder was having breakfast with his Tasman teammates when All Blacks assistant coach Jason Ryan called.

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With injuries to loose forwards Shannon Frizell and captain Sam Cane, as well as other stars Tyrel Lomax and Jordie Barrett, the inclusion of Blackadder has been a popular decision.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, that’s for sure,” Blackadder told reporters at Auckland airport. “I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in this position right now.

“I’m really privileged to be able to be called in.”

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