Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot has ambitions of representing his country at next year’s World Cup, after his comeback from a neck injury.
Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot still has ambitions of representing his country at next year’s World Cup, after his recent comeback from a neck injury.
The 28-year-old missed the entire 2014 Super Rugby season with the career-threatening injury and only came into the Chiefs squad as a late replacement for Nathan Harris who sustained an ankle ligament injury in the All Blacks’ recent clash with the USA in Chicago.
Elliot revealed that he wants to add to the three Tests he played for the All Blacks.
“I harbour ambitions of pushing on,” he told the Waikato Times.
“We’ve got a World Cup next year, but first and foremost I’m just going to push as hard as I can to get a spot in the [Chiefs’] 22 come February.
“The fire still burns brightly inside of me to play footy and to compete at the highest level.
“Through the year I had out through rehab, watching the boys playing and missing out on all that action, the hunger’s still there.”
Elliot further injured a bulging disc in his neck whilch while playing for the Maori All Blacks against Canada last year.
He underwent successful surgery and, after playing for Poverty Bay in their last few matches of their recent ITM Cup campaign, Elliot is now ready to battle Rhys Marshall and Quentin MacDonald for the Chiefs’ number two jersey in 2015.
“It was a daunting process that I had to go through; me and my family got put through a lot in terms of the injury and the impact it had on me and them,” added Elliot.
“To be honest I probably didn’t think I was going to be back when I first did it so to be finally back and in the mix is awesome.
“It was a huge decision to come back and play footy. I’ve got a little one to think about, but this is what I was born to do – play footy – and I’m going to do it for as long as I can.”
Chiefs boss Dave Rennie said members of the team’s management had kept in contact with Elliot during his rehab.
“I think the biggest thing was whether he had the confidence to put his head back in a scrum and he’s done that with Poverty Bay, he’s really excited, got himself in pretty good nick, feels like he’s got himself a second chance and is grabbing it with both hands,” said Rennie.