The core group headed back to Llandarcy for pre-season training this week, boosted by the presence of a number of players who were returning to training after lengthy spells on the sidelines.
Dmitri Arhip, Ma’afu Fia, Ben John and Rob McCusker were the senior players rejoining the squad, along with youngsters Josh Cole, James Ratti and Owen Watkin.
Arhip hasn’t played since undergoing surgery on the shoulder he dislocated in the Challenge Cup win in Grenoble in early December while fellow tight head, Fia, suffered knee ligament damage in the defeat to Leinster at the Liberty in early April.
John has been out of action due to HIA protocols since February and McCusker’s last game was the victory over Wasps that same month when he sustained an ankle ligament injury that required surgery. Cole and Watkin both missed last season in it’s entirety, with a fractured ankle and ACL damage respectively, while Ratti missed the end of season run-in with a shoulder problem.
All seven are now taking a full part in pre-season training.
Meanwhile, Medical Performance Manager, Chris Towers, provided an update on a further four senior players who hope to be back involved sooner rather than later.
“Jeff suffered a setback on recovery from an Achilles injury, requiring keyhole surgery on a knee problem that will keep him out of the early part of pre-season. We expect to see him return for the start of the new season.”
“Daf failed to recover from a shoulder injury picked up in training at the end of the season, which meant he has gone on to have surgery. As a result we expect him to miss the start of the season.”
“Dan is continuing his rehab from knee and shoulder surgery having been out of action since November. The objective now is to make every effort to have him available for selection at the start of the season.”
“Sam is back with the squad for the pre-season and is following a modified training programme after his neck injury. He is working well towards a return to play and we are managing his progress carefully.”
Hanno Dirksen (knee), James King (ankle), Brian Mujati (shoulder) and Eli Walker (back) remain under the watchful eye of the medical team and updates will be provided when appropriate.