By Brian Ashby, NZ Herald

Timing is everything in rugby and at the start of this year’s Super Rugby season, Crusaders fullback David Havili seemed to have it nailed.

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The three test All Black was arguably the form player of the competition and as with last year, was again logging big minutes for the defending champions. But off-field timing, or more significantly, off-field health suddenly deserted the 25-year-old Tasman skipper.

An infection saw Havili hospitalised with surgery to remove 20 centimetres from his bowel.

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Fast forward two months and the versatile back says he is slowly building his training load, and rebuilding his body.

“I lost about nine kgs and went down to 86, but I’ve been able to put about five back on,” he said. “It’s been seven weeks since post-surgery and I’ve just been able to start lifting weights again in the last two weeks.”

The timing of the lockdown means the Nelson College old boy has missed minimal rugby, but he says if the game was miraculously given the green light to return tomorrow, he wouldn’t be ready to play.

“It depends on how the body reacts to putting the condition back on and I don’t want to risk injury by coming back too soon.”

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Lockdown life has seen Havili in a bubble with his girlfriend, as well as All Blacks wing George Bridge and his partner, along with Crusaders lock Quinten Strange.

Job losses amongst the Crusaders backroom staff has given him cause to think about life outside of rugby.

“I was 18 months into a building apprenticeship before rugby took off and I’d definitely like to pick up the tools at some stage, but hopefully rugby can get back on schedule soon.

“Everyone is definitely hurting from the restructure at the Crusaders, and the players are no different.”

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This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished with permission.

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