Former All Black Waisake Naholo signs with Canterbury

Canterbury have added some serious firepower to their squad for the National Provincial Championship with former All Black Waisake Naholo signing on.

Waisake Naholo in action for the All Blacks against France, June 23, 2018. Source: Photosport

Naholo is back in New Zealand after joining the London Irish in the English Premiership at the end of the 2019 season.

The 27-Test winger’s time in the UK was tough with the winger only making four appearances for the Irish before he was released this year.

Instead of adding to his eight years with Taranaki though, the 30-year-old has opted to sign for Canterbury.

"Everyone knows what sort of player Waisake is," co-coach Reuben Thorne said.

"He's played 27 times for the All Blacks and has a wealth of experience at Super and NPC level, so we're really excited to have him in our squad this year."

Naholo is one of nine new players in the squad announced this afternoon with Irish prop Conan O'Donnell, NZ Under-20s star Zac Gallagher, and Manu Samoa’s Henry Stowers all joining as well.

The squad also features six current All Blacks in George Bridge, Braydon Ennor, Joe Moody, Richie Mo’unga, Codie Taylor, and Sam Whitelock.

"We're really proud of the group of guys we've been able to select for this Canterbury squad, but what also makes it really pleasing is the majority of our guys have come through the Canterbury club system and/or our academy," co-coach Mark Brown said. 

"Twenty-seven of the current 32-man squad selected have all played club rugby in Canterbury and have been part of the Canterbury and Crusaders Academy or age-group representative teams."

Mitchell Dunshea and Tom Christie have also been named in the squad but aren't expected to feature this season due to injury.