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Naholo pleased with ability to bounce back

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/06/2016

All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo was "angry" with his first-half display in the opening Test against Wales, but is heartened by his ability to bounce back during a two-try performance in Auckland.

Naholo made a shaky start but finished strongly, and his second touchdown, when he powered over from a tap penalty, proved the turning point as the home side pulled away to a 39-21 win.

"Not my best performance, but I'm happy with how I was composed and came back in the second half," he said.

"I was quite angry with myself with all the errors I was making and I just wanted to make up for them."

The All Blacks were trailing 21-18 heading into the final quarter on Saturday night when they turned down an easy penalty attempt.

Instead, half-back Aaron Smith went for the tap and passed to Naholo, who finished from six metres out.

"I kind of called for that," Naholo said.

"I just saw the first-five in front of me and thought I would try and have a go. I just dived at the line, pretty much."

The brace at Eden Park took the 25-year-old Highlander's Test try tally to three after four caps.

His first came against Georgia in the 2015 World Cup, a tournament he almost missed after suffering a leg injury in his All Blacks debut earlier in the year.

After the final whistle on Saturday night, Naholo expressed his disappointment to coach Steve Hansen over his first-half display.

"I made the comment to him, `Son, the pleasing thing is that you came through the other side of that', and that takes a lot of effort, mental effort particularly," Hansen said.

"We know he's really talented and he hurt them even in the first half - he scored a lovely try."

Hansen said trying too hard sometimes led to mistakes and Naholo had been desperate to show his quality.

He was confident Naholo would turn out to be a special Test player and just needed time in the All Blacks environment.

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