Jerry Collins says that he can’t wait to get back into action after undergoing surgery during the summer break to cure knee and shoulder problems that hampered him during the closing weeks of the season.
The inspirational Kiwi, voted Players' Player of the Year at the end of season Awards Dinner, is already working hard to regain his fitness following his double operation, and is looking forward to pulling the shirt back on after rediscovering his rugby 'mojo' as an Osprey.
Speaking about the surgery earlier this month, Collins said that despite the obvious trauma of undergoing two operations simultaneously, he's already working hard to get back in shape in time to feature during September:
"I feel pretty good considering. It's not easy having two parts of your body done at the same time, it's quite a difficult experience, but both surgeries have gone pretty well. The medical team are happy, they've done a really good job at sorting out the ligaments and the bits and pieces, and it seems to be healing quite well. I'm concentrating on doing my rehab now, working towards next season and just biding my time really.
"The shoulder injury has been a problem for a long time, and going towards the end of the season I was struggling to grip things, day to day things like pulling my shirt on in the morning was getting harder and harder. The knee problem was also there, going into the the last three weeks of the season I didn't do much training, probably just once or twice a week pretty much, saving myself for the games. The surgeons were pretty amazed that I played the last two months of the season, and the credit has to go to the conditioning staff and physios here for managing me through that time and keeping the body intact for the run-in.
"I'm already working my hardest to get out there come day one. Obviously, it'll all depend how the rehab goes, how pre-season shapes up. I'm running around again, but I'm waiting for the arm to get strong enough to do the gym work in order to sort that out. I could play with one arm, I would if I had my own way, but I think that would do a disservice to the team. I don't suppose the coaches would be too happy about it either! I'll be trying to open the door to get onto the field some time during the first month of the season, but exactly when is up in the air at the moment."
JC 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. After his exertions in an Ospreys shirt over the course of the season, the summer break offered some welcome respite, even if the surgery means it's not quite the break you may anticipate.
"Having a break and being immobilised are two different things!" he said.
"It's not much of a break when you are recuperating, being restricted by having to take care of a shoulder and a knee. Whatever though, it's good to get some kind of time away from rugby, the last year has been a hard one and it's been earned. It was a long old season, I don't think I missed more than one or two games all year, and our success in the Magners League meant we played right up to the end of May, so even if I'm on one leg and with my arm in a sling as I have been, I'll enjoy some time off!
"As far as next season is concerned, it's just a race to get back playing again now. I had such a great time last year, I really enjoyed my rugby and just want to get back out there playing as soon as I can. I suppose I arrived here last summer with something to prove, you know, I think every player kind of goes through a patch where they lose their mojo a little bit, I suppose that's the best way to put it.
"After my experiences before that, last season was one of those years that I was really happy with. This year now is a massive one, not only for me personally, and for the Ospreys, but there's a World Cup on the horizon as well which should add some intensity to what's going on. There will be guys looking to do their best to push their cases, with all the clubs not just the Ospreys, and that will give an edge to things I expect, in all competitions. I'm really looking forward to the new season."