Richard Kahui. Photo Getty
Richard Kahui's return to the game has been delayed by
yet another shoulder operation, but he hopes to be available
for the Chiefs' first Super Rugby assignment of the season
against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Kahui had a "clean-up" operation on his shoulder on Friday,
which had gone well, he said. It comes after the major
reconstruction on the joint in June last year which ruled him
out of all rugby.
"They took out some of the scar tissue to help loosen the
shoulder up because it had been a little restricted," he
"That all went really well. I'm getting much more movement
now. I'm just waiting for the swelling to go down and
hopefully will get into some contact later in the week.
"It will just depend on how much contact I can get and how
confident I am in the coming weeks as to whether I play in
that first game [on Friday, February 22] or play in the
second game, but it's looking really positive."
Kahui said the operation wasn't always planned - it had been
hoped the shoulder would come right on its own - but it was
better for the surgery to happen now rather than later.
The surgery means he will be unavailable for the Chiefs'
third pre-season game against the Hurricanes in Mangatainoka
It has been a frustrating time for 27-year-old Kahui. Out for
eight months - his big operation last year was June 23, a
date he remembers clearly - he watched his Chiefs team win
the Super Rugby title for the first time, with his All Blacks
career also stymied.
A midfielder for the Chiefs, the All Blacks would have used
Kahui, who has played 17 tests, on the left wing, instead he
watched as 22-year-old Julian Savea took his game to the next
"While last year was a real proud time to be a Chief, winning
our first Super 15 title and being with a great group of men.
There's a little feeling you have as a player who isn't
playing. You don't quite feel a part of it.
''This year I'm looking forward to putting in a lot of input
and playing some really good rugby. It would be nice to be on
the field and win a title. At this time of year every time
wants to win it and that's certainly how we feel. It would be
nice to be a key contributor to the team."
Kahui was present at Super Rugby's official launch at
Auckland's Royal Akarana Yacht Club today.
Two players from each of the New Zealand franchises, along
with NZRU chief executive Steve Tew, helped launch the new
Due to the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia this
year, teams across the Tasman kick off a week earlier than
the others. The season kicks off with a match between the
Rebels and Force this Friday.
The New Zealand teams begin a week later with the Highlanders
hosting the Chiefs. On Saturday, February 23, the Hurricanes
host the Blues. The Crusaders have a bye.
Two notable differences for referees in New Zealand this
season will be their pink strip, courtesy of a sponsorship
deal with Pink Batts. They can also rely on more help from
the television match official this season.