The 25 year-old played the second half of last week’s win over the Hurricanes in Wellington and certainly feels lucky to be back on the field.
“It was 15 weeks ago I had surgery and I thought I was going to miss the whole of Super Rugby and potentially a little bit of Mitre 10 Cup. But I guess with the Covid scare, everyone is doing it tough, but it gave me an opportunity to get my health back to where it needed to be. I’m just very lucky to get another opportunity this year and I’m really grateful.”
Havili lost about nine kilograms post-surgery and while he’s put weight on since being back at training, he still believes he’s a few kilograms off where he would like to be.
The Crusaders vice-captain has been named on the bench for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Chiefs at Orangetheory Stadium. He admits the nerves were running wild last weekend.
“I was a wee bit nervous before that game. It was awesome to get back out there and get that 40 minutes under my belt. Hopefully, I get a few more minutes this week and can keep adding to this campaign.
“Once I had a few carries and got a few tackles under my belt, you can’t replicate game speed or contact so it was awesome to know that the body was back to where it needed to be. In terms of my body and mental space, I’m feeling really good.”
Havili has the ability to cover most positions in the backline and actually played first five-eighth the last time the Crusaders played the Chiefs, a narrow loss earlier this season in Hamilton.
“I sort of bounced around 12 and 15 when I was younger and didn’t really have an ideal position that I wanted to play. I slowly morphed into that 15 role and covered 12 and then these last couple of years being able to cover 10 has been great for me to add those strings to my bow. I’m just enjoying being back out on the field.”
The Crusaders take on the Chiefs at 3:35pm on Sunday at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Get your tickets HERE or watch live and exclusive on Sky Sport 1.