Rugby: Emoni Narawa moves on from Chiefs' Super Rugby final heartbreak to focus on nailing All Blacks opportunity

After his first week in camp as an All Black, Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa is happy to put the Super Rugby Pacific final defeat behind him to concentrate on higher honours.

Narawa, 23, was a standout for the Chiefs in their run to the Super Rugby final, where they were narrowly beaten by the all-conquering Crusaders for their seventh title in as many years.

But that defeat doesn't take away from what Narawa has already achieved in 2023, leading to him being among five new call-ups for coach Ian Foster in the 36-man squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

Emoni Narawa.
Emoni Narawa. Photo credit: Getty Images

The winger made 13 starts in his 13 Super Rugby appearances this season, scoring eight tries and averaging 76 minutes on-field per game.

And with injury to Mark Telea potentially opening up a spot on the wing for the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Mendoza next weekend, Narawa will vie with the likes of Will Jordan, Leicester Fainga'anuku and Caleb Clarke for a spot on one of the flanks.

But while many would be forgiven for still being hurt by the loss of the Super Rugby title - with the Chiefs beaten only twice all season - it's water under the bridge for Fijian-born Narawa.

"It's been good," said Narawa. "We can talk about the Super final now - but it was a tough one last week.

"It's all done and dusted now, the focus is on the ABs and putting my best foot forward.

"I was sort of a bit nervous coming into camp. We've always got our phones and alarms on, you don't want to be the one that comes in late to meetings."

After a Super Rugby season that saw Narawa backed as an All Black in waiting by Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan, the 23-year-old puts his rapid rise down to his work off the field during pre-season.

And now in the All Blacks' squad as they build towards the Rugby World Cup in France, Narawa backs himself to continue to do what he's done all year, only in the black jersey. 

"That was one of my big work-ons, my diet and how I trained in the off-season. The sacrifice is all worth it now.

"We've been picked for a reason, for us it's just [about] being ourselves.

"We [need to] carry on our form from Super [Rugby] and bring it into the All Blacks, and carry on from there."

The All Blacks' 36-man Rugby Championship squad will be cut to 33 for this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

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