Former Chiefs assistant coach and incoming Taranaki rugby coach Neil Barnes can't help but feel frustrated by Lachlan Boshier's impending departure from New Zealand Rugby.
The 26-year-old flanker has signed with Japanese Top League champions Panasonic Wild Knights, who are coached by former Wallabies and Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans.
Boshier is set to leave New Zealand after the 2021 NPC campaign, which he will play for Taranaki.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Barnes says he's pleased Boshier has a contract lined up to secure his future, but he's disappointed he is leaving New Zealand.
"I'm stoked for him, he's got a deal that's going to set him up for life. But you can't help but be disappointed because he's at a stage in his career now where he's probably going to have the best three or four years in front of him. He's now a mature athlete, he's done all the learning and is ready to deliver the goods.
"It's one of those situations where he couldn't crack getting into the top of the All Blacks, and the way he looks at it with the selection last year, he wasn't really in their picture and made a decision to go."
Boshier was one of the standout performers for the Chiefs in the 2020 Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, emerging as one of the country's best at the breakdown, elevating his case for first-time All Blacks selection.
His efforts helped him win the franchise's rookie of the year award at their annual ceremony.
However Boshier's sublime work as a loose forward never earned him a black jersey, with the likes of other prospects in Hoskins Sotutu, Akira Ioane, Cullen Grace and Du'Plessis Kirifi chosen ahead of him.
Barnes says that came down to the All Blacks selection policy around physicality which Boshier didn't quite fit.
"Lachie's got his own strengths as far as continuity of rugby and how he operates in the wider channels. I'd like to think his instinctive abilities are ahead of the other guys, but it's not something they see at the moment," Barnes says.
"It's one of those ones where every coach and every selector is different, and they're looking for a player with different strengths. For the teams I've coached he fits the bill. He's got a few things he needs to work on around his carry and the tight channels, but he's got some other qualities that a lot of other players are miles behind in.
"Lachie didn't fit that, so game over."
Barnes knows it wasn't an easy decision for Boshier to leave, applauding the player's loyalty.
"He's a very calculated person, deliberates well, is quite quiet. He doesn't make decisions in a hurry so he would've sat on it for a while. I know he spoke to a lot of people to get their advice, and at the end of the day he's done what's best for him.
"He's very loyal to the Chiefs and Taranaki so he had to weigh all that up as well. The deal he's got at the moment is something top level so you can't blame him for going when you finally hear the numbers."
Barnes says he "has a lot of time" for Deans and is excited to see Boshier blossom under a head coach who's enjoyed significant success with the Crusaders in Super Rugby, and most recently won a title with Panasonic Wild Knights.