Kainga takes injury in his stride
With his first start in the Chiefs jersey confirmed, Saturday's 37-29 win over the Sharks was supposed to be the biggest game of Michael Kainga's promising career.
Kick off. He joins a ruck. He gets cleaned out. The Chiefs go on the attack. Kainga takes a ball into contact.
He's tackled. Pain.
"It felt like a stinger and I tried to run it off but I couldn't lift in a lineout or clean out in a ruck, so I was useless out there," admitted Kainga.
He came off after 11 minutes worrying about his left shoulder. He was replaced by Tameifuna, who went on to have one of his more productive matches this season.
Weeks of hard work competing against Tameifuna, of gaining the edge over his propping partner, came to a bitter end after 11 minutes.
"If I stayed on I would've been a hindrance for the team so I thought I'd do the right thing and come off."
While he admitted to 'looking forward to getting out there', Kainga has taken the injury - a self-assessed 'niggly' left shoulder - in his stride.
"You can't do anything about it. You've just got to learn from it and grow as a person and as a player."
The Chiefs prop has attributed a significant portion of his growth as a rugby player to the man who replaced him during Saturday's match.
"I've learned a lot from [Tameifuna], I think he's an amazing person and an amazing player - he played really well.
"I think he felt the heat from me getting the start so he needed to play well, which he did," Kainga said with a smile that has seen him gain the nickname, Panda.
The former Taita College star was philosophical about one of the Chiefs' major Achilles heels - their high missed tackle count.
"I think the main thing is you can't look for an excuse. Tackling is about me and myself, so it's up to us.
"The coach can't go in there and make tackle, so it's up to us."