All Blacks inside centre David Havili believes fitness will be crucial when they take on Ireland in next month’s three-Test series in New Zealand.
The 27-year-old revealed that the All Blacks’ defeat to Ireland in Dublin last year came as a shock for him as he had not experienced the type of atmosphere or pressure which he experienced in Dublin that day.
Keen to get stuck into Ireland
Havili said he took plenty of lessons from that encounter with the importance of fitness being one of the main ones and he is hoping to get an opportunity to face Andy Farrell’s men in the first Test at Eden Park on July 2.
“International rugby is so physical, and you’ve got to be able to get your body back to where it needs to be each week, and that was a big learning for me,” he told the All Blacks’ official website.
“I was sort of a wee bit tired going into the back of those games, and I’ve focused hard around my recovery this year, and getting my body right and where it needs to be, to keep competing at that top level.”
After helping the Crusaders lift the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific title, Havili is determined to be in prime shape for the Ireland series. The Crusaders’ win over the Blues was a tough and physical duel and Havili is keen to recharge his batteries while he is in camp with the All Blacks.
“We’re just building throughout the week and Friday will be a bit more of a big training run for us,” he said.
Havili revealed that being involved at the beginning of a Test campaign with the All Blacks is always exciting as there were fresh faces in the squad and new challenges lying in wait.
He also said he is happy with his form and is keen to express himself in the Test arena again.
“I think my game’s in the right area now, and if I get called on in the next couple of weeks I’ll definitely be ready,” he explained.
One of the newcomers in the All Blacks squad is Havili’s Crusaders team-mate Leicester Fainga’anuku, who was one of the Christchurch-based outfit’s stars during their triumphant Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
Havili believes Fainga’anuku will make a positive impact in his new surroundings and is relishing the prospect of seeing the 22-year-old in action for the All Blacks.
“Just his physical presence. He’s young, he’s hungry and he wants the ball,” he said. “He wants to make a difference, so if we can exploit that through here as well, and I’m sure we will, they’ll get the best out of him.”