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Why Lachlan Boshier's lack of versatility could have cost him All Blacks selection

By Michael Pulman

Trending on RugbyPass

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Perhaps it was only a matter of time until Lachlan Boshier looked for greener pastures.

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He’s been called the unluckiest player in New Zealand. After missing out on the All Blacks last season despite being one of the best loose forwards to speak of, many would’ve assumed that Lachlan Boshier would be in the running this year.

That’s a logical assumption on the face of it, especially when you consider some of the injuries that are around, but that point is also a moot one.

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Boshier was never going to be in the All Blacks’ thinking, that much is clear now. He’s done the right thing by looking for opportunities further afield.

So let’s break this down. Why would a player who’s so good at his core role, particularly against fellow Kiwi opposition, still not be able to break into the All Blacks?

Versatility has been a key conversation by the fans when it comes to Boshier, and on this occasion, their right to question just what else the 26-year-old could bring to Ian Foster’s environment.

Compared to a Du’Plessis Kirifi, who was called up to the All Blacks in 2020 ahead of Boshier, the two key points of difference appear to be volume of carries and versatility across the park.

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Speed could also have been a factor in that, an attribute that both Kirifi and Ardie Savea appear to have in spades, and whilst this doesn’t rule Boshier out of the conversation completely, it becomes a harder reality to picture when you look at what other loosies around the country are starting to bring to their game.

That’s without mentioning the Crusaders pair of Ethan Blackadder and Cullen Grace or the Blues standouts Dalton Papali’i and Tom Robinson.

They’ve all got work to do to be more versatile but there should be no debating that the All Blacks want their loosies to be able to do different roles on both sides of the ball, rather than focus on a core entity.

That is what they feel could be a point of difference against the more traditional playing sides they’ll be tasked with beating at the next World Cup.

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Boshier was also challenged to put more weight to his 104kg frame in the hopes that this would improve his presence with ball in hand.

That might sound like an achievable task, but it becomes that much harder when dealing with niggling injuries throughout the start to 2021 as Boshier has.

It wasn’t until April that the 26-year-old was able to get on the park for the Chiefs. Since then, he’s showed the masterclass jackling ability that saw him become a fan favourite last year, but little else it appears is to the level Ian Foster and co feel warrants the No 7 jersey in the All Blacks.

Speaking to RugbyPass earlier in the year, Boshier admitted that the 2020 campaign spanning Super Rugby Aotearoa and a full stint with Taranaki had taken a noticeable toll on his body.

It’s actually been a fair old slog for Boshier since starting out in Super Rugby all the way back in 2016.

Over the course of 64 caps, Boshier became an integral part of the Chiefs loose trio, a trio he leaves in decent hands with the likes of Luke Jacobson, Pita Gus Sowakula, Sam Cane, and younger brother Kaylum Boshier all still on the books.

Players, especially ones as smart as the man in question, tend to understand that they’ve got a limited shelf life to play their best rugby.

To look at it from that point of view, if the All Blacks is off the cards again, what’s really keeping Boshier in New Zealand?

Better the 26-year-old head offshore now and make some good dollars without the microscope. Boshier can always come back, and who knows where his overall game might be when that day comes.

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Why Lachlan Boshier's lack of versatility could have cost him All Blacks selection

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