Naholo’s Comeback Trail On Track

Rookie Chiefs winger talks about his injury and  he’ll be back playing in the Super Rugby Aotearoa on May 1.
05 Feb 2021 12:35
Naholo’s Comeback Trail On Track
Kini Naholo doing light training at the Chiefs gym in Hamilton, New Zealand on February 4, 2021. Photo: Chiefs

Fijian born- Chiefs winger Kiniviliame Naholo is recovering well from his knee injury and is on track to make his return to Super Rugby Aotearoa on May 1.

The 21-year- old injured his knee in his Super Rugby Aotearoa debut last year and underwent Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) surgery in October and has been out for nine months.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Naholo said he is taking things as it comes.

“First I have to focus on my recovery period here in the Chiefs set-up and to make sure that I’m recovering well by following the team doctor’s advice,” he told SUNsports.

“Once I’m recovered I’ll definitely return and hopefully stamp my mark in Super Rugby.

“I just had a knee surgery where they replaced my ACL and that will take nine months to recover.

“I’ve already done five months with four more months to go. I will be back on the field.”

Naholo said he is not rushing things because it was a serious injury.

“According to the doctors I will return to play in May so till then I’m really watching my diet and the nutrition team have been helping me keep my diet.”

The Nadroumai, Nadroga speedster said he had started doing light training as part of his rehab.


Still a Chief

“I remain in the Chiefs squad despite being injured,” he added.

Naholo said he is fortunate to be in such a training environment.

“The boys in the team have been very kind and helpful on the rugby pitch.

“It was totally new for me when I arrived here last year because the environment was different from club rugby level. It was different to me in terms of physical training, body conditioning and game structure.

“The fitness level is different so over here I need to be super fit because the pace of the game is different.

“Last year I endured many injuries because my body was not properly conditioned to suit this level.

“During this process I’ve learned a lot from the experienced players in the team especially those in the All Blacks squad.

“They really helped me know and understand the type of rugby the Chiefs play.”


Brotherly love

Naholo said his older brother and former All Blacks winger Waisake who now plays in London often calls him wanting to know his progress.

“He (Waisake) encourages me to keep working hard in training and during game time.

“Last year I constantly called him for his advice on playing on the wing and what I need to do. He helped me a lot in my rugby and

“I’m blessed to have him as a brother. I always reassured my family in Nadroga that I’m recovering and I’ll be back playing soon.



On his plans, Naholo says, he no plans on trying to make the All Blacks or the New Zealand 7s team.

“There is always a thought of donning the white jersey.

“I’ve always wanted to represent Fiji in both 15s and 7s whenever I watch them play it always triggers me to play for Fiji.

“If the time is right and the opportunity is given I’d love to play for Fiji.”


Doing it right

Naholo said he always look up to Chiefs and All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie.

“I always admire the way Damian plays.

“To train with him and observe how he does it is very encouraging.

“Damian does the little things right in training and is too good in doing the basics.”





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