All Blacks centre David Havili has revealed that he is ready and available for selection when they take on the Springboks in their Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Friday.
The 28-year-old was ruled out of New Zealand’s triumphant Rugby Championship campaign due to a serious hamstring injury.
Havili picked up the injury during the Crusaders’ 42-18 Super Rugby Pacific victory over the Waratahs in Christchurch at the end of May and apart from some minutes for Tasman in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship (NPC), he has not played again.
Door opened for All Blacks World Cup selection
An injury to Braydon Ennor in New Zealand’s second Bledisloe Cup win over Australia in Dunedin earlier this month opened the door for Havili’s return to the All Blacks squad for the World Cup.
And after being named in the All Blacks’ 33-man squad for the World Cup, Havili settled in quickly in familiar surroundings and is now focused on making his return to action against the Boks in Friday’s highly anticipated clash at Twickenham.
“It’s been a seamless transition,” Havili told Newshub. “All the boys have welcomed me back in really well.
“It’s great to be able to connect with them. You don’t see them through Super Rugby, so it’s been awesome to get around the guys.
“I’m right where I need to be, I’m just building nicely. It was a pretty slow start to getting the hammy back to where I wanted it.
“Being able to step into NPC, and come back and train at a higher intensity with the boys has been great.
“It’s probably set me up over the last couple of weeks. It’s [been] 11 weeks now, it’s all behind me.
“I’m looking forward to getting out on the park.”
While Havili has been sidelined Jordie Barrett has established himself as the All Blacks’ first choice inside centre and barring injury he is set to wear the number 12 jersey when they face France in the World Cup opener on September 8.
Havili knows he faces a difficult challenge to be picked ahead of Barrett against Les Bleus but is happy to see his team-mate doing so well.
“It’s been awesome to see him going so well in that jersey,” he said. “It’s been great being able to see him execute his skillset like he does under pressure.
Working closely with Jordie Barrett
“I’ll be working closely with him. His little kicking short game, subtle touches he does… he takes a wee bit of pressure off our 10s to make sure they’re controlling the game.
“It’s been awesome to get back around him and I’ll be sure I do that over the next couple of days as well.”