Hikawera Elliot (Ngāti Awa) is set to make his 100th appearance for the Chiefs this Friday, as the side take on the Crusaders, in Suva, Fiji. Elliot and the Chiefs left New Zealand for Fiji today, with an eclectic mix of Māori rugby memories to accompany him.
Elliot says, “I didn't think ten years ago when I first started playing Super Rugby that I'd get to this milestone. So to be tracking in that direction is a special achievement.”
Elliot is scheduled to play his 100th match for the Chiefs on foreign shores. He will meet the milestone in the first ever Super Rugby fixture to be held in Fiji on Friday. But he very nearly threw it all in.
“I was contemplating retirement in 2014 and the support that I got from family and friends was really what motivated me to get back on the footy field.”
Elliot is the self-confessed 'kaumātua' of the Chiefs. However, his debut came for the Hurricanes in 2008. In 2010, he relocated to Hamilton to join the Chiefs, where he was fortunate enough to win his first Super Rugby title in 2012 with the side.
“It's a special achievement not only for myself but for my family as well and all the people that have supported me through my career and got me to where I am today.”
Despite that, Elliot has been no stranger to struggle as a professional rugby player, Elliot always found the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
“2014 I was facing retirement. I was lucky enough to pull through and again, to be closing in on 100 games for the Chiefs is good.”
Elliot will be honoured with a post-match haka in Fiji, with NZ Rugby disclosing they will present him an award on the sides return from Fiji.
“A good win on Friday night with where our season is heading and where we need to be at, that'll be a bonus enough for me.”
The Chiefs starting side will be announced tomorrow.