I never saw him again - 'Angry' All Black Laulala proved doctor wrong
New Zealand prop Nepo Laulala was inspired to prove his doctor wrong after being told a serious knee injury could force him to retire.
The tighthead tore his anterior, posterior and meniscus cruciate ligaments, as well as ripping his quadriceps muscle away from the bone, in January 2016.
The Chiefs player was initially offered a grim diagnosis by medical professionals, but defied the odds to return to Super Rugby action just 12 months later.
He was back in the All Blacks squad to help New Zealand retain the Rugby Championship and will start against France in Paris this weekend, blowing away the assessment of a pessimistic surgeon.
"It was a massive injury and I think it was the worst he had ever seen - which is not really the thing you want to hear from your doctor," says Laulala.
"I wanted to prove that I could make it back and prove the doctor wrong. I was really angry with him and after that I never saw him again.
"It played a really big role in me getting back. Part of our role is that we always get a lot of negativity - it is part of our lives to prove people wrong in this career and it is important that we stay strong and don't believe everything you hear."
Ahead of the Test against France, New Zealand Rugby Union's chief executive Steve Tew moved to clarify reports in the Australian media suggesting the All Blacks were being courted for a money-spinning hybrid match against a rugby league team.
"We get asked to consider a large number of proposals regularly, and in this case, we were approached over a year ago about the possibility of a hybrid game," Tew said.
"Other than that initial conversation, there have been no other discussions and this is definitely not something we are pursuing."