New Zealand and Highlanders wing Waisake Naholo has overcome many challenges in his career.
Naholo was unable to make the Blues’ squad in 2013 and decided to look elsewhere for an opportunity to improve his game. He went on to play for provincial side Taranaki and it wasn’t long before the Highlanders snapped him up.
Naholo finished off with 13 tries in his first Super Rugby campaign with the Highlanders, which was followed up by an All Blacks call-up.
Naholo told Stuff that he had put in a lot of work at the Blues and was disappointed when the news came through that he was not selected for the Super Rugby squad.
“At the Blues I had two games and I wanted more. I was starting to improve and getting a feel for what Super Rugby was like. It was disappointing to get cut,” said Naholo.
“Even when I went down to the Highlanders I wasn’t sure if I’d be playing. That’s why we started looking overseas. We never thought I was going to make the All Blacks at that stage after getting cut from the Blues, playing sevens, nothing was really working out.”
Naholo added that it is important for him to remain consistent and keep up the good work which has taken him this far in his career.
“I’ve always doubted myself; never had great confidence. Even now sometimes I have to smack myself in the face to make me realise that I haven’t got to this stage for no reason so I’ve got to keep backing myself,” he said.
“Every time I know I’ve got to give it everything because you never know when you get cut.”