Ngatai on the comeback trail

    2017-04-25 12:23

    Cape Town - Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai played an 80 minute game of club rugby on Tuesday after he was sidelined for almost a year with concussion symptoms.

    Ngatai was in action for the University club in Waikato's premier club rugby competition and played against Hamilton Old Boys who had fellow All Black Zack Guildforn in their ranks.

    Ngatai, 26, suffered a knock to the head against the Highlanders on May 7 last year and has been struggling to return to action ever since.

    He returned to action at the weekend, when he played at full-back for 40 minutes, and University head coach Shannon Mackey said the one-cap All Black told him on Tuesday he was keen to play again.

    "People went hard at him but it's the same with our guys, who went hard at Zac Guildford," Mackey told Stuff.

    "Those guys are going to take a couple of hits but what they've got is the experience to deal with that and perform in the next play."

    Chiefs boss Dave Rennie has said Ngatai was still a few weeks away from being considered for Super Rugby selection but Mackey was encouraged by Ngatai's performance on Tuesday and said he did some really good things.

    "It was an opportunity to get more involved in the play being at second-five (inside centre) and there were certainly some nice touches," he added.

    "You can see he's a guy who's been in a professional environment for some time and he was very strong defensively."

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