Naivalu not returning this year

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Sefa Naivalu's journey back to the Test rugby arena is over before it ever began after scans revealed he will need shoulder surgery.

Naivalu was making his return to rugby with the Rising after suffering an ankle injury against Fiji in June but was dealt a cruel blow when he was forced off with a shoulder injury.

Scans have since delivered bad news and he will undergo shoulder surgery on Friday.

"We’re all gutted for Sefa after he worked so hard to get back from his ankle injury,” Rising head coach Zane Hilton said.

"His experience and killer instinct will be an immediate loss for the rest of the Rising’s NRC season but we know the decision to have shoulder surgery now is in his best interest long term.

Naivalu has had a horror run with injury in 2017. Photo: Walmsley"We know that Sefa will be diligent with his rehab and will be back bigger, stronger and hungrier than ever in 2018.”

The injury rules Naivalu out for four to five months, ending any hope he had of featuring in the remainder of The Rugby Championship or the Spring Tour.

"I’m very disappointed to miss the rest of the year but I know that it’s the best decision for my career to fix my shoulder now,” Naivalu said.

"I don’t like being on the sideline so I will make sure that I do my rehab and get my shoulder right so I can be back and ready for next season.”