Kevin Naiqama absence explained by Huddersfield coach

Josh McAllister
Kevin Naiqama Huddersfield Giants SWpix

Photo: Ed Sykes/SWpix

Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson has explained why Kevin Naiqama has been left out of his 21-man squad to take on Wakefield this Friday. 

Naiqama, 34, made his Huddersfield debut and Super League return during Round Two. The Giants fell to a 26-16 defeat at home to Warrington.

The Fiji captain was named at starting centre for the fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium. He scored a try on his first appearance late on in the loss.

However, he has not been named in Watson’s 21-man squad to face Wakefield at Belle Vue in Round Three.

The Giants head coach explained: “He’s got a little big of a groin issue, which tightened up on his first kick-chase actually of the game.

“His kick-chase game was outstanding last week, but he felt something in his groin. 

“We’ve had it checked and there’s nothing major there. We’ll just give him a week or two to make sure there’s nothing wrong.

“It’s early in the season. We knew we were going to have to build through the season of the back off the World Cup. Kevin obviously played a lot of games in the World Cup as well.

“We just need to make sure he’s right going forward.”

Kevin Naiqama to be replaced by fellow new signing

He is set to be replace by Jake Bibby, who joined the club from Wigan during the off-season on a three-year deal.

Watson continued: “And when you’ve got somebody like Jake Bibby, who has won League Leaders’ Shields, been in Grand Finals, won Challenge Cup finals, it’s a pretty straightforward swap for us.”

Huddersfield’s game against Wakefield at Belle Vue was initially under threat after seven Catalans players required antibiotics due to infected leg wounds in the opening round.

But Belle Vue passed a pitch inspection on Wednesday afternoon. It has been deemed fit for purpose, so the game will go ahead as planned. Trinity said they will continue to monitor the surface over the coming weeks.

READ NEXT: Ian Watson reacts to Wakefield’s pitch inspection drama and reveals preparations for hybrid surface