Jerry Collins is set for an early return to action following double surgery in the summer.
The tough-tackling Kiwi underwent operations on long standing knee and shoulder problems following the end of last season, and after initially targeting a return to action ahead of the opening Heineken Cup game against his former club Toulon, the former All-Black is set to give the Ospreys a big boost by declaring himself available for selection for this weekend’s Magners League opener against Ulster.
“I’ve just done what was pretty much my first full on week of training and at this stage the knee and the shoulder feel on track. I think anyone will tell you that when the body isn’t used to running around that you tend to worry about the bad stuff more, the little niggly stuff that you want to steer clear of before you get on to the pitch, but I’m feeling pretty good at the moment.”
Ospreys Physio Chris Towers confirmed that JC has been cleared to play, saying:
“Jerry was reintroduced to full rugby training last week without any problems and he will now be considered available for selection this weekend should the coaches feel that he is required.”
Collins spent more minutes on-field than any other Osprey during the 2009/10 campaign, putting in a string of eye-catching performances as he helped the region to a record breaking third Celtic League title as well as a place in the last eight of the Heineken Cup. Despite the obvious trauma of undergoing two operations simultaneously, he has bounced straight back from injury and is already anticipating his return to action after defying expectations.
“They make them different where I’m from!” he said.
“We are starting four points behind everyone else, we are going to Ulster which is always a difficult place. They’ve made some big signings over the summer so it’s going to be a tricky start. I’m just thankful that I’m fit and may be able to play a part, as there are a few guys who aren’t going to be available for the first game.
“I’m paid to play rugby matches, and plenty of them at that, so I just want to get back out there with the shirt on and earn my money rather than sitting on the sidelines.”