Seiuli out for Super Rugby season

Aki Seiuli. Photo: Getty Images
Aki Seiuli. Photo: Getty Images

Aki Seiuli is going to miss all of the Super Rugby season - but for him it could have been so much worse.

Seiuli, the Otago and Highlanders loosehead prop, badly injured his left knee in a Mitre 10 Cup game against Northland at Forsyth Barr Stadium on September 7.

The big prop limped off the field, was then taken to hospital and there were real fears he had done some very serious damage. Doubts surfaced whether he could get back on the field, so bad was the knee.

But although he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and tore his lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his knee, he should get back on the field and is targeting next year’s Mitre 10 Cup as his return to play.

Seiuli said his initial thoughts were pretty grim straight after the injury.

"I was sitting there on the sideline straight after it and was thinking ‘that could be it’. But I went to the hospital and then in a couple of days got the news that it was not that bad," he said.

"I was lucky, if you could say that. I look at someone like Brendon Edmonds, who has had real problems and injured a nerve when he was playing. Luckily I did not injure a nerve."

Edmonds was a promising prop who played for the Highlanders in the title-winning team in 2015 but his rugby playing days have now ended.

The Hawke’s Bay prop badly ruptured all the ligaments in the knee, effectively dislocating it, and also damaged a nerve in the knee in a game in April, 2016. He had an operation to fix the ligaments but the damaged nerve had led to him suffering from drop foot.

He tried to come back but never got back on the field.

Edmonds’ contract with the Highlanders has come to an end and his career is over. He turned 28 last Wednesday.Seiuli, who turns 26 later this month, is not as badly off as Edmonds and had a successful operation shortly after the injury.

He had his ACL replaced by his patella tendon and then part of his hamstring grafted to repair his LCL, so it was some heavy work on his knee.

The first month of recovery was just sitting on the couch watching television, playing guitar, and reading.

But he has made some progress. Just this week he has taken off his knee brace, after throwing away his crutches a few weeks ago, and is  walking a little.

"I’m not doing any running yet but I can get on the bike and work on that and also do some upper body stuff. There is a grinder thing they have at the gym that you can work on. Hard work.

"At the moment they have just started preseason so, yeah, watching them work through that I’m not missing that. But I know I will have to go through that at some stage."

He was injured while trying to effect a turnover and was cleaned out by Northland forward Tom Robinson.

He has spoken to Robinson since - "it was pretty average clean-out" and knows the Northland forward did not show any malice.

"We had a good yarn about it and that.

"You’ve got to stay positive. At the moment it is just ticking off stuff as you go along. I’m just grateful that I will be able to play again. That is keeping me in a good head space."

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