Naholo’s recovery on track – Hansen

Date published: September 10 2015

All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo's recovery is on track and he is set to make his mark at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

That was the word from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who said that Naholo remains on course to play in the pool game against Georgia in Cardiff on October 3. 

The 24-year-old broke his fibula on his Test debut against Argentina in July, seemingly ending his hopes of competing at the global showpiece in England.

Naholo returned to his native Fiji where treatment using traditional medicine helped him recover in time to make the All Black squad.

His unexpected selection has delighted Naholo and he has become increasingly active at the All Blacks' final camp in Auckland ahead of their departure for the World Cup on Thursday night.

"He's always got a smile on his face, he's Fijian for a start and they never stop smiling," Hansen told reporters. 

"His rehab has come along really good, he trained today, and as every day goes past he gets better and better.

"So he's on track to do what we expect him to do which is be available for Georgia."

Hansen admitted that taking Naholo to the World Cup is a gamble but said he was prepared to take such a risk given the potential reward.

"He is a risk but the rewards outweigh that risk," he said. 

"It's a small risk, but when you look at it he wouldn't have played in both the first two games, so he misses one game.

"Whilst we may have liked a strong pool we get the pool we get and that allows us to take a little risk like this. 

"He comes back against Georgia, gets another opportunity against Tonga, and then if we're good enough we'll be in the quarter-final, and if his form is good enough he'll play."

Hansen is delighted with the progress Naholo has made so far.

"Physically he's in good shape," he said. 

"The trainers have been able to get a lot of work into him off his leg, and now he's running on that leg. 

"It is small risk. He could get hit on the side of the leg and break it again.  But there are 31 guys that could happen to. It's going happen to somebody – we'll lose somebody with an injury. 

"History tells us that."