Barry Davies is hoping to pull on an Ospreys jersey again with a matter of weeks after taking a big step towards a long awaited return to rugby action following groin surgery.
The fullback, a signing from French T14 side Brive last summer, suffered an injury troubled first season in an Ospreys shirt, with a damaged tendon in the groin limiting his impact. Having made a good impression in the opening weeks of the season he suffered the initial injury in the LV= Cup game at Bath in November, undergoing surgery and facing up to a three month lay-off.
He suffered a recurrence of the problem in his comeback game in Edinburgh during March, bringing his season to a premature end, but now, after further surgery and an intensive rehab programme under the watchful eye of the Ospreys medical and conditioning teams, Davies is closing in on a return to action, with a possible comeback pencilled in within the next month depending on his progress,
“It’s been a long process to get where I am now, but I’m definitely heading in the right direction” he said.
“I’ve started doing a lot more running, more physical work and I’ll hopefully be getting involved in some rugby sessions this week. It’s good to be able to see the progress, like I said it’s been a long time but I think I’m coming towards the tail end of it now and I should be playing again before long.
“I’m feeling good personally, there hasn’t been any reaction which is excellent news. The abductors are getting stronger, the groin’s feeling stronger every day. I’ve been doing some great work with the physio team, Chris Towers and Brian O’Leary, and I’m just looking forward to getting back on the pitch. It’s been a long time, I just want to hopefully repay the Ospreys for the investment they’ve made in medical care for me by playing some rugby again.”
Ospreys Director of Coaching, Scott Johnson, paid tribute to the attitude that Davies has shown during his injury troubles, saying that he has done a first class job in keeping up spirits in the camp:
“Barry is a positive influence in the squad and that has never changed while he’s been injured. He’s a good squad guy, he’s good around the camp, contributing to the environment and being a good role model to the younger players here. He’s to be admired for that attitude.”
However, the ever-modest Davies is quick to play down his influence, saying that he’s been reliant on the support of his teammates to keep his own spirits up while sidelined.
“It’s good to be told nice things but I don’t know if I’ve really contributed that much to be honest” he insisted.
“I’ve been in some dark places over the last eight months with everything but I try to keep positive. There’s been some good guys with me in LTI group, I’ve got to know Duncan Jones well and we had Lyndon Bateman with us last season, they are positive people who will always look to the plus side and are good at keeping people’s spirits up. I’m sure that I’ve been sapping the boys quite a bit but hopefully in the next few weeks I can do my bit to start lifting the squad when I rejoin them for training.”
As he edges nearer to a comeback, Davies is philosophical about the time he has spent out of action:
“It’s been the first major injury I’ve suffered, and I’ve been playing professional rugby for 10 years, so touch wood, in that respect I’ve got a pretty good history. I think a groin injury is a difficult one to deal with generally but I’m happy to be getting over it now and hopefully it will continue improving.
“I enjoy training and as I’ve got older I think I’ve learnt to appreciate being a rugby player more. I’m looking forward to getting back out there, competing for a place. I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be a good year for the Ospreys and I want to play a bigger part, make more of a contribution than I did last season.”