New Zealand Rugby and the Chiefs have congratulated Hika Elliot as he prepares for his 100th Investec Super Rugby match this Saturday night when the Chiefs take on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin in the first of the Qualifiers.
“It’s great news that Hika has reached this milestone after his playing outlook seemed so bleak because of injury last year,” said New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew.
“He’s shown real courage and determination to come back and be playing at his best once again. His family and team-mates will be rightly very proud of his achievement on Saturday night.”
Elliot joined the Hurricanes in 2008 after stand-out form for his home province of Hawke’s Bay. After two seasons, he joined the Chiefs in 2010 and was a key member of the title winning side in 2012 and 2013.
He quickly made his mark as a powerful and mobile hooker, his form earning him selection for the Maori All Blacks in 2008 and a place in the All Blacks end of year tour squad that same year. He won the first of his three Test caps against Scotland in Edinburgh in 2010.
An injury suffered on the Maori All Blacks North America Tour in 2013 ruled him out of Super Rugby in 2014, but after surgery and a stint in provincial rugby he returned to Super Rugby this year.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said: “On the brink of an injury enforced retirement, Hika Elliot is in the form of his life. His competitive attitude, his love of the game and his passion for this club highlight a skill set and durability that sees him play his 100th Super Rugby game and we congratulate him on his special milestone.
Hika Elliot said: “I am extremely grateful to my family, coaches; management team and all my team mates who have all helped me make it to my 100th Super Rugby match.
“It is something that I have been looking forward to. It is pretty special and something I really wanted to tick it off my list of goals.”
Elliot will become the 38th player to join New Zealand’s Super Rugby centurions club, following Jerome Kaino, Owen Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Owen Franks and Ben Smith who also reached the milestone this year.
He will be presented with a pounamu mere – the New Zealand Rugby gift for centurions – by New Zealand Rugby Board Member Graham Cooney.