‘Otara boy’ Joe Naufahu on his big Games of Thrones break

Winter is coming and Joe Naufahu’s day has arrived.

Naufahu, the 38-year-old former professional rugby union player, is the Kiwi who is about to take Game of Thrones by storm.

As Scout announced exclusively, the Kiwi has been cast on the hit TV show, as a central character for a multi-episode arc playing a Dothraki warrior named Khal Jhago, making his the most relevant character amongst the many new additions to the horse lords crew.

It’s his dream come true.

Naufahu, who owns and manages the Auckland gym Ludus Magnus, favoured by All Blacks and both Bachelors Art Green and Jordan Mauger, stars on the sixth season of the fantasy TV series, screening next month.

The former Glasgow Warriors player, who has been sworn to secrecy about his role and the hit show, has finally opened up about what the big break means for him.

"For an Otara boy coming up, injuries shattered my rugby dreams. I was lost in a very dark place for a very long time. I’m so blessed I pulled through, and I couldn’t have done it without my loved ones,” he wrote on his Instagram page yesterday.

"But looking back I wouldn’t have it any other way. Keep the faith.

"If one door closes then search. Search for another one. And when you find it. Smash that f***er down.

"Find your passions, live out your dreams. Embrace your pain, and be strong, because that pain will be useful to you one day.”

Naufahu is best-known for his role as Liscus on Spartacus and on the critically-acclaimed drama The Last Saint, which was directed by his brother, former Shortland St star Rene Naufahu.

The brothers, Scout understands, have a fractious relationship.

Joe has found a brotherhood among his fellow Game of Thrones castmates, his fellow Dothraki members who include Brazilian actor Diogo Sales, French actor Elie Haddad, Maltese model Andrei Claude, British actor Chuku Modu and Russian-Indian actor and singer/songwriter Staz Nair.