Naholo’s French move in doubt

Date published: May 13 2015

Super Rugby's top try-scorer Waisake Naholo might stay in New Zealand despite signing a contract with Top 14 giants Clermont Auvergne.

The Highlanders winger has enjoyed a sensational campaign, scoring eight tries in eleven appearances for his side.

At the start of the season it was announced that he would be heading to Clermont at the end of the season on a two-year deal, but as his reputation has grown, rumours have begun to spread that the All Blacks would like to keep him in New Zealand.

Clermont sporting director Jean Marc Lhermet initially played down concerns over Naholo's eventual move, but has now admitted to La Montagne that the NZRU are putting pressure on the French club to release Naholo from his contract.

"As it stands we have a contract of two years with an option that has been signed by the player," he said.

"It's true that his agent reassured us initially when there were noises about the NZRU wanting to keep him. Now, his performances in Super Rugby are remarkable and we are under an increasing amount of pressure from the NZRU. And when the All Black machine gets going, it becomes complicated.

"If the question is 'are his chances of playing at Clermont 100 percent?' then the answer isn't yes. Depending on what happens with Naholo, we need either two or three wingers.

"One of our recruits depends on what happens to Castres. Rémy Grosso is a possibility, but he would only come if his club doesn't stay up."