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All Black Emoni Narawa on his dazzling return to Chiefs

By Ben Smith
Emoni Narawa of the Chiefs scores a try during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between Chiefs and Moana Pasifika at FMG Stadium Waikato, on April 06, 2024, in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The road back to the field for Emoni Narawa has been a long one but the flying wing looked in cruise control as he ran in three tries and produced three more in his second game back for the Chiefs.

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Since his All Black debut, against Argentina in Mendoza last July, an ongoing back injury has kept him sidelined which ruled him out of the Rugby World Cup.

But the 24-year-old has returned to Super Rugby Pacific with a bang, firstly scoring last week against the Crusaders and showing the rugby world what they have been missing with a superstar showing against Moana Pasifika.

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“When you are out for eight months, it’s obviously quite tough,” Narawa told Sky Sport NZ.

“I was really lucky with a good support system coming back, I’ve got a good medical crew with my RTP and it just feels good to be up and running.”

Narawa was ‘up and running’ early in the first half after a risky offload directly from a turnover paid dividends with the Chiefs coming out of their own 22.

The right winger pumped the ball downfield with a long kick with no backfield cover in place. He looked to be in second gear as he toed the ball again a couple more times before he scooped and scored the Chiefs’ second try, making the difficult look all too easy.

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His second try came from a killer grubber kick and regather for himself that again found pasture in the Moana backfield, and a third came from a pick and go close to the line right on full-time.

But it was his try assists that showed his multi-dimensional game. His best came from a clean break right up the middle, before drawing in multiple defenders and finding a one-hand hook offload to halfback Cortez Ratima.

Despite his impressive performance against Moana Pasifika, Narawa wasn’t looking too far ahead with selection tough to come by in a competitive Chiefs environment.

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“We treat every team with the same respect, whether it is the Crusaders or Moana. Training to get better with a great mindset every day,” he said.

“I’m just glad we got away with the win tonight.

“We’ve got a pretty good squad with good depth there.

“You aren’t guaranteed next week, so you always have to train hard and stamp your mark.”

The Chiefs were without All Blacks Shaun Stevenson and Quinn Tupaea, while Anton Lienert-Brown played a role off the bench.

With Narawa now firmly back in the mix, the Chiefs have a luxury of riches to select from as the prepare to face the competition-leading Hurricanes.

 

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Alex 66 days ago

Ah, the joys of being able to select players from across the Pacific

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