All Black Waisake Naholo is back. He came through unscathed in club rugby on Saturday and is keen to rejoin the Highlanders.
Naholo (24), in his first game of rugby since breaking his right leg against the Blues in February, scored a hat-trick of tries to help Harbour retain the Scoles Memorial Trophy when Zingari-Richmond was beaten 66-24 at Montecillo.
“It was a good feeling to be out there on the paddock again,” he told the Otago Daily Times.
Naholo showed strength and speed as he scored three of Harbour’s 10 tries.
“It was good play by the boys. I just had to finish it off,” he said.
“It was really good to be back out here today and score some tries for the mighty Hawks.”
He showed his ability to finish when he scored his first try after 11 minutes and his second seven minutes later, when he followed up a kick by fullback Logan Allen, gathered the ball and scored.
He added a third try early in the second spell.
Naholo looked for work and did not shy away from physical contact in the fast-paced game.
Naholo made his test debut for the All Blacks against Argentina last year but was subbed off in the 51st minute with a cracked bone in his right leg.
He recovered in time to play for the All Blacks in the World Cup against Georgia and Tonga.
But luck was against him again this year and he suffered a new fracture to the same leg in the Highlanders’ opening Super game against the Blues.
He played the full 80 minutes for Harbour on Saturday and had no further mishaps.
“My leg was OK but my lungs were the problem,” he quipped.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the paddock for the Highlanders. That is what I’m in Dunedin for.”
He was philosophical about his injuries.
“It’s something you’ve got to expect playing rugby,” he said.
“These things happen. I was just a bit unlucky with the breaks occurring on the same leg.”
He attracted a fan club around him after the game and spent time signing autographs and getting his photo taken.
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