The suitors are lining up in advance of the end of the rugby season, as Waisake Naholo will be off contract with New Zealand Rugby.
It is generally thought that he will move from the Highlanders to the Chiefs, but he has expressed a definite desire to remain in New Zealand for one more year at the minimum.
In just nine games for the Highlanders, the All Blacks wing has scored eight tries and laid on three others. He averages 85 metres running, 4.7 defenders beaten and two clean breaks every time he takes to the ground. He showed true dominance in the Highlanders’ victory over the Lions, often making his Scottish opposite Tommy Seymour look like a schoolboy recruited to fill out a side.
Naholo has thrived since moving to Dunedin in 2015. He has been dinged up a bit at times this year, but his form has still been such that he got the left wing assignment over Julian Savea for the Wellington test.
Strong family ties figure prominently with regard to Naholo’s future plans. He is trying to keep life in proper perspective, basing some of his decision making on the fact that he has close ties to Cambridge, Hastings and New Plymouth. Moving to the Chiefs would put him closer to those connections, as driving from the southern end of the South Island to the northern end of the North Island is a 24-hour drive or a three hour flight.
Something those desirous of securing Naholo’s service would be wise to consider is that he has two younger brothers, Meli, aged 20 and Kiniviliame, aged 18, who seem to have rugby DNA similar to their big brother’s. In a recent high school match, Kiniviliame, playing for Hastings Boys’ High School, scored six tries – in one half – against the boys of Wellington’s St. Patrick Town.