Rugby: Chiefs flier Emoni Narawa reflects on World Cup-ending back injury as comeback nears

After his Rugby World Cup was cruelly cut short by injury, Emoni Narawa has opened up on the significance of his set back in France.  

The 24-year-old slipped a disc in his back and couldn't feel his left leg for two months.   

But now the winger is almost back and hungry to pick up where he left off in 2023.

Emoni Narawa scored on his test debut against Argentina.
Emoni Narawa scored on his test debut against Argentina. Photo credit: Photosport

It may be much, but Narawa has made serious progress by being back running and on the brink of full training after his injury.  

"The disc actually slipped out," he explained to Newshub. "It was hitting a nerve and my left leg was numb.  

"It took at least two months for the feeling to come back in my leg."

It was a cruel blow for Narawa, the injury happened in the last five minutes of training in Lyon.  

Having impressed with season-best speeds the week before, Narawa looked primed to see decent minutes at the World Cup.  

"I was just gutted when it happened," he said. "I wasn't thinking about my leg, I was just thinking 'shit, I'm out of the World Cup'.  

"It was scary."   

The support from his family helped Narawa through a tough time.   

"My two girls and my mother-in-law came over. So, it was sort of bittersweet over in France," he said.

But his connection with family is something Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan feels gets the best out his star winger.  

"Having a young family, that's really given him some purpose in life," McMillan told Newshub."But also real direction in his rugby.  

"We're starting to see that on the field." 

On the field is no doubt where he wants to see Narawa sooner rather than later, but McMillan trusts the rehab to get him back to his best.  

"He's still working his way back," he added. "But you can just see he knows what he needs to do. He understands his body."   

"It's an injury you don't want to rush," said Narawa. "Hopefully [over] the next couple of weeks, I can build into it."  

Narawa is happy to be patient as he looks to make his mark on Super Rugby once again.