Winger Waisake Naholo’s use of an alternative treatment for a cracked leg bone has won the backing of All Blacks coach Steven Hansen.
The Fijian-born flyer, who was injured on his Test debut against Argentina in July, is in a race against time to be available for selection for the Rugby World Cup.
Naholo, 24, has been undergoing a traditional healing method in Nadroga and he told the Fiji Times he has experienced huge improvement and believes he will be ready if selected for the tournament.
Hansen says he is aware of the treatment.
“I was over there not so long ago and they were talking about it, ironically, before Waisake got injured, and they swear by it,” he said.
“So who are we to poo-hoo alternative medicine? The Chinese have been doing it for years.”
Hansen said what excited him the most was that a quality player like Naholo was desperate to do whatever he could to get himself right.
“If it works, I’m a believer,” he said.
“I don’t care what he’s doing. If it’s making him think he will get better and he does get better, then we have one more person we can select.”
Hansen said the All Blacks’ medical staff would have to do all the necessary checks on Naholo to see what he could and couldn’t do, before the 31-strong World Cup squad was named on August 31.
The Fiji Times said Naholo’s uncle, Iseai Naiova, contacted him from Nadroumai village and told him that, if wanted to be at the World Cup, to “get on on the plane and come here”.
The Times said that, after six days of traditional herbal treatment, which included applying leaves known as kawakawarau to the injured area, Naholo lost his limp and began walking and doing light exercises.
“Growing up here in the village, this was nothing new,” Naholo said.
“I have seen it happen to people and even rugby players who came here and were healed.”