Arguably the form fullback during the 2020 Super Rugby season, Crusaders' back David Havili's Super Rugby Aotearoa season was interrupted with injuries but the 25-year-old returned to action for Tasman on Saturday and put the All Black coaching staff on notice.
Havili is something of a forgotten figure in the black jersey, having played three tests off the bench in 2017, but his form in 2020 looked as if he would claim a recall. Untimely injuries saw him miss out on the squad but on his return to action last week, he turned in starring performance at inside centre and was sensational at fullback this week for Tasman in their 34-17 bonus-point victory in their top-of-the-table Premiership clash at Trafalgar Park on Saturday.
It took just eight minutes for him to stamp his mark on the game from fullback with an 80-metre intercept. Havili bagged two of his team’s three second-half tries after they led 13-5 at half time. The second of those eventually putting away a Mooloos side who showed a hearty fightback.
David Havili with the 80-metre intercept 💨 pic.twitter.com/2fUFQXUfrJ
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) September 26, 2020
Before the hour mark, a quick shift left had Havili step round Liam Coombes-Fabling to bag his double, then in the 69th minute sealed the hat-trick, as he latched onto a pass from Alex Nankivell and went on a brilliant 30-metre run away.
Havili had another all-round great game for the Mako with some excellent distribution, a few offloads and had a few moments of excellence on defence proving crucial. He grabbed a threatening Patrick Osborne offload while his big boot was also a weapon. He executed a few cross-field kicks well but his standout kick was an 80-plus-metre kick that crossed the touchline in the corner.
Tasman next face North Harbour while Waikato will look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season against Southland next weekend.
The All Blacks kick off their test season with Bledisloe Cup tests against Australia before the Rugby Championship. Ian Foster is set to expand on his current squad and with Havili's ability to cover multiple positions and his current form, he may well earn a test recall.
Full Highlights: Tasman 34-17 Waikato