南京夜网

Waratahs’ new winger prepared to stick his neck out for teammates

WITHOUT having played a game for the Waratahs, All Blacks recruit Sosene Anesi has already set a daunting benchmark for even the toughest of his new teammates.Some players earn reputations as ”hard eggs” for playing on with broken ribs or noses, with torn cartilage, or even fractured skulls.That the 28-year-old outside back played 75 minutes of a Super 14 game in 2007 for the Chiefs with a broken neck is not something he openly brags about. He even looks uneasy when you jokingly inform him that playing with the injury would challenge even Waratahs breakaway Phil Waugh’s threshold.However, it is a measure of the severity of the fracture and his apparent disbelief that he avoided what could have happened – possible paralysis – that Anesi discusses it when asked.The break occurred five minutes into the round-two game as he tackled Hurricanes winger Ma’a Nonu; but without him or anyone realising until he went to hospital the next day. ”I got my head on the wrong side [in the tackle]. I was sore but played all the game,” Anesi said yesterday. ”I even tried to crack my back into place as the game went on.”The next day Anesi learnt the shocking truth: he had fractured the C6 vertebra in his neck. It brought an end to his season and added another chapter of injury woe to a career that has stopped and started. But Anesi knows he was lucky. ”It could have been a lot worse,” he said.The Kiwi admits that returning to the paddock as he did five months later was as hard mentally as it was physically. Gaining confidence in the tackle contact again took time. But after an exhausting rehabilitation program, he took the field for the Chiefs against Taranaki in the Air New Zealand Cup.Anesi, whose one All Blacks cap was earned against Fiji in 2005 and who has come to the Waratahs to replace Lote Tuqiri, says he is now 100 per cent fit and is confident his injury run is over. ”I’m injury free – a bit of a tight groin from NPC but I’ll be back running next week,” he said.While injuries limited his playing opportunities at the Chiefs, so did the calibre of the Kiwi side’s back three, which includes Mils Muliaina, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lelia Masaga.”That was the main thing. I had to look somewhere else. Being at the Chiefs didn’t quite get me that opportunity, with the likes of Mils, Masaga and ‘Siti’,” Anesi said.However, the time spent watching the likes of Sivivatu – at Super 14 and Test level – provided him with a chance to learn, and in particular see how a winger can assert his influence on the game.”I have learned a lot the last few years about getting involved,” Anesi said. ”I have watched how Sitiveni plays his game. He is always trying to be a playmaker, getting involved. That’s what I am trying to do. Being on the wing, it’s a bit hard, but you have to go and look for the ball.”As well as Anesi’s blistering pace, the Waratahs will look to take advantage of the Kiwi’s insider knowledge of the Chiefs players and their game.”I think it will help a lot. But it is not about them, it will be more about us and the game we bring that day,” Anesi said. ”I played the Waratahs once. That was in my first year and we lost. We got a hiding.”
Nanjing Night Net