Crusaders fullback David Havili has revealed how he came dramatically close to having his rugby career ended by a bowel infection.
Having been in career-best form, Havili went under the knife last month just hours after he first started feeling ill at training.
“If the infection had spread to most of my bowel and to anywhere else, they probably would have had to remove my whole bowel and potentially use a bag for the rest of my life,” he said.
Instead, he’s now missing 20cm of his bowel where the infection was.
The dramatic events saw him laid up in Christchurch Hospital for a week, although he didn’t feel too far from home, with partner Lucy working a ward over as a nurse.
“She’d come and see me every smoko she had, I think she got quite bored of it because when she came home, she was another nurse at home, she was working 24-7," he said.
Havili has been effectively isolating for a month already and is still on the mend with two sutures still inside him.
The speed of the illness and what could have been has left the three-cap All Black with a new perspective.
“It wasn’t until I was sitting in the recovery ward and after surgery, I thought ‘this is pretty bloody serious, I’m not too sure when I’ll be back playing’. It was just crazy to think how quickly rugby can be taken away from you and that just put it into perspective for me."
Like rugby itself, Havili is unsure when he’ll be back in action as he continues his recovery at home.