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All Blacks star overcomes food poisoning to help team into Super Rugby final

Hika Elliot lost six pounds in weight and was placed on a drip two day’s before the biggest game of his season.

Hika Elliot is tackled by Gordon D'Arcy in 2010.
Hika Elliot is tackled by Gordon D'Arcy in 2010.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

SOME OF HIS early lineout throws may have been wonky but Hika Elliot recovered his radar and put in a huge shift to help the Chiefs beat Crusaders at the weekend.

The All Blacks hooker was struck down with a nasty bout of food poisoning three days before the biggest game of his season. He was unable to train the following day and was placed on an intravenous drip after he lost six pounds in weight.

The treatment helped as he took a reduced role in his side’s training run the day before the Super Rugby semi final clash with their old foes from Canterbury. 24 hours later and Elliot was throwing his body on the line in a desperate defensive effort as the Chiefs won 20-19. The result puts them on course for their second Super Rugby title in two seasons.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, who is expected to seek coaching work in Europe at the end of this season, revealed to the New Zealand Herald that Elliot was a major doubt before the knock-out clash. “It was pretty bad,” admitted Rennie, “he was vomiting and so on.”

He did a great job for us. We stuffed up a few lineouts early on but the boys had tweaked the lineouts during the week and, of course, Hika wasn’t able to train. That had a little bit of an effect. But certainly he was very physical around the field and had a high workrate. He gutsed it out.”

Elliot has three caps for New Zealand and last featured for his country in the 42-10 win over Ireland at Eden Park last year. He tweeted this after the semi final win:

Todd Blackadder, coach of the vanquished Crusaders, will stay on with the seven-time Super Rugby winners for another season. The contract extension was announced by Crusaders Hamish Riach.

Riach added that tweaks rather than wholesale changes were needed to capture their first league trophy since 2008. The franchise expects to tie up extensions for Blackadder’s coaching staff of Dave Hewett, Tabai Matson and Aaron Mauger.

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Patrick McCarry

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