Steady as she goes for Richard Kahui

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James Mortimer     10 Jan 2013     Getty Images

Kahui dislocated his shoulder last May while playing for the Chiefs against the Reds in Brisbane, and initially the outlook was positive, with recovery on the sidelines expected to repair the troublesome joint.

However it was deemed in June that surgery was the best option.

When Kahui went down there would have been a minor panic in the Chiefs coaching ranks, but Sonny Bill Williams and others covered the breach.

For the All Blacks, Conrad Smith continued to shine to the level where many would nominate the Hurricanes captain as the best number 13 in the game.

Kahui said to the Waikato Times that the all-important contact work was still to come.

"It (the shoulder) feels great but I'm still maybe a month or so away from really digging into some real contact,” he said.

"I said to the coaches we've got the time to give it a little bit more time and do a little bit more rehab and strengthening up so I think we'll take that time. But otherwise everything feels great and it's just great to be back doing some actual rugby training."

Kahui has had less than ideal luck with shoulder injuries, but said that he was being positive while preparing to give his upper body a test in the coming weeks.

"The last couple of times I've come back I've been in better nick than when I left so if I can do that again that will be great,” he said.

"I talked to the surgeon about how we strap and do this and that but he said there is not really not much else you can do, other than what I am doing.

"Obviously I have weaker shoulders or something, but just really a lot of bad luck and hopefully in the year of 2013 that luck is going to change."

With Sonny Bill departed, Kahui will be the senior centre, although he felt it was as if the Chiefs had brand new midfield stocks.

"With me coming back from injury it's like having three new midfielders and both Charlie (Ngatai) and Bundee (Aki) had really good ITM Cups and are two lads with a lot of potential and a lot of talent,” Kahui said.

"I'm getting as much from them as I think they will from me and training with them, just their energy and things like that.

"There's no doubt we'll miss Sonny, he was a real key figure in the success last year, but I think that just gives the rest of us a real good challenge to push each other really hard to be as good as we can be.”