As he prepares for his return to action in Saturday's Magners League game against Ulster at the Liberty Stadium, Jonathan Thomas has revealed how being part of the matchday squad again after a lengthy lay-off means so much to him.
The versatile 26-year old hasn’t pulled on an Ospreys shirt since February after suffering from a recurring groin problem, but he says that he is only looking forward now as he enjoys an imminent return to action. He commented:
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s game. I’m only on the bench, but just to be involved again means a lot to me. I’ve only played a couple of games since Christmas, with no games at all since February so I’ve really enjoyed working with the squad again over the last few days in the build up to the game. Being part of the 22 going through the match prep work, it’s just been great to be able to play a full part in things again after time out.
“I’ve played rugby for a few years now, but when you’ve been out for a while, it does things to you and you maybe don’t react as you would have done. Yes, I’ve got plenty of experience, but there’ll be some nerves, some butterflies ahead of the game. Once you get into it, it soon settles down though. Being out injured for any length of time makes you hungry again, and I can’t wait to get off the bench and hopefully have some involvement in the game on Saturday.
“I realise that I’m not going to be fully up to speed straight away, and it will take 2/3 weeks for me to really hit the mark. I’ve got to look at it in stages, and hopefully I’ll get a run-out on Saturday and can then look to take it step-by-step over the next few weeks and work towards starting games again.”
Thomas returns to a squad that has got the new season off to a great start, with two pre-season wins followed by a victory over Connacht in Galway on the opening weekend of the season. With competition for places high, he says that he’s looking forward to the challenge of securing a regular place:
“Everyone in the squad is excited at the moment, Johnno’s made a real impact since he took over and there’s a real spark about the place. There’s a lot of competition for places in the squad, particularly in the second and back rows, so no one can presume that they are going to be playing. It’s going to be tough to get game time, so it’s important that I take the opportunities when they come. There’s nothing quite like being involved on a matchday though. I’m just pleased that I’m available again. I’m really looking forward to getting the shirt back on again this weekend, and stepping it up in the games that are coming up, to get me back to the level I know that I can reach.”