Former All Black Mils Muliaina returns to where it all began in Southland
Life after rugby is as busy as ever for Mils Muliaina.
The former All Black fullback, who wore the famous black jersey in 100 tests, was back in Invercargill on Tuesday visiting family, while also passing on some of his knowledge to Southland rugby players.
His playing days came to an end last year and while some professional athletes struggle to find their feet when finishing playing, Muliaina hasn't had any trouble filling in the hours.
In fact, he could do with a few more hours in his day.
The 37-year-old is in his first year studying to be a chiropractor, he has taken on a commentary role with Sky TV, and he has launched a new Skills with Mils programme to help budding rugby players.
He has a three-week-old baby boy to help tend to at home, just to add to it all.
Muliaina didn't predict life after rugby to be as busy but he certainly isn't missing his playing days.
"To be honest, probably two or three years ago I knew I had had enough," he said.
"The body was good and it felt like I could still offer a bit but I think mentally I'd had enough.
"I had spent over 17-odd years with that being the sole focus, that is almost half my life. So I kind of knew, I also knew I had a plan as well, that plan was to come back to New Zealand and study.
"All these other opportunities have come up and I've taken them. Now I find myself very busy, which was not what I quite expected.
"But I'm enjoying the ride as well, and if it wasn't for the skills I picked up in rugby, like managing your time properly, it would be tough."
The thought of chasing a career as a chiropractor begun for Muliaina in 2010 when he was still part of the All Blacks.
Muliaina was struggling with injuries, and it was a pulled calf muscle which had him searching for any measure which would ease his growing problems.
The All Blacks physio Peter Gallagher sent him to Ed Timmins, a chiropractor who declared he would sort Muliaina's problems in just five sessions.
Timmins lived up to his word, and from that point, Muliaina became intrigued.
Muliaina now has a long five-year haul ahead of him studying.
The rugby connection remains through his commentary role and the Skills for Mils sessions.
In regard to his commentary duties, he concedes he has had to work at it.
"I was never a watcher, I never use to like watching. The only watching I did was on the computer analysing the other team when you had to do your homework for a game.
"Also now there are so many young kids coming through, and after being overseas for a while I never even knew who they were.
"If you are put in front of a camera and asked about a particular player and you didn't know anything about them, that can be hard.
"So I've had to change that mentality and actually do my homework and watch a bit, and I've really enjoyed it."
During his time in Invercargill on Tuesday, he made a visit in to a Southland Stags training.
Muliaina spent time with assistant coach Jason Kawau working with the backline.
"I was just trying to help them with the little things without trying to change too much. And obviously being in the back three, just sharing a bit of knowledge about that and looking at some things from the weekend where they could have perhaps done a bit better.
"I actually called their game on Sunday and there is lots of talent there and you are seeing how hard they are trying.
"I've also been in environments where often the harder you try the worse it gets, in some aspects that is kind of what is happening."
Muliaina also spent time working with the Southland under-16 and under-18 teams.
"It is a chance to be able to give back in some ways, where it all began.
"I've worked with some schools in Auckland, but as a youngster growing up I begun my rugby career down here in the under-58s through to the secondary schools, I think was the last [Southland] team I played for."
"As I said to the [Stags] guys here today, I've always got a soft spot for Invercargill because it's where I was brought up."