Naholo – ‘Hopefully I made a statement’

Waisake Naholo

Waisake Naholo hopes he has done enough to make the All Blacks starting lineup for the British and Irish Lions' Test matches.

Naholo scored a well-taken try as the Highlanders took down the Lions 23-22 in Dunedin on Tuesday.

And Naholo is aware of the heightened expectation that comes with pulling on the All Black jersey describing the chance to face the Lions as a 'once in a lifetime opportunity'.

'Every player always raises their game when they join up with the All Blacks,' Naholo told The Daily Mail.

'The expectation demands that and nothing less; so the level has to go up again. So it should be tougher for the Lions.

'The All Blacks are always massively prepared for every team and every challenge.

'Facing the Lions in a Test series is a once in a lifetime chance, and everyone knows how big that is.'

The Fiji-born flyer says that the All Blacks are not taking the Lions lightly and hopes he has done enough to convince coach Steve Hansen that he is worthy of a starting spot.

'I was just excited for an opportunity like this, and hopefully I made a statement for the All Blacks,' said Naholo. 'I was hungry, excited and just keen to get my hands on the ball.

'Tuesday's game was like a Test match, the speed, intensity and collisions.

'It's massive for the Highlanders to beat the Lions, it's great for all the boys and everyone there.

'But the Lions were really tough. They keep changing their team and you don't know what their strongest team is yet.

'I certainly don't think the All Blacks will underestimate the Lions.

'The Lions could put out a totally different team against the All Blacks, so we just have to see what happens now.'