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Hamilton set for homecoming start

Guinness PRO12 Editor

26 Nov 2010

Craig Hamilton will make his first home start against Connacht tonight after overcoming a career threatening neck injury.

The five-times capped second row was stretchered off in a brace against Ospreys in March.
Luckily the damage to Hamilton turned out to be much less severe than first thought, but a long period of anxiety followed.
Hamilton started against Ulster in September and has enjoyed cameo appearances from the bench in five other games, but this latest start confirms the injury nightmare over.
"It has been a tough journey but fortunately I've been able to rely on the support of good physios, management team and colleagues who I'd like to thank," said Hamilton.
"They kept encouraging me and after such a long time out you are wary to begin with.
"It has been gradual but steady progress back to full fitness after what was a bit of a worrying period starting with being stretchered off then not knowing how bad the injury was.
"There were times when I was going days between scans waiting for results and at the back of my mind was what happened to Thom Evans. Before he announced his retirement I pretty much knew that was going to be it for him so the worst-case scenario was something to be considered."
A series of outings from the bench may have been frustrating but it  has left Hamilton desperate for more action and with Scott MacLeod ruled-out for at least a month with a rib injury Hamilton's presence is all the more important.
"My time out and on the bench has left me raring to go and although it is unfortunate for Scott there is depth in our squad with young Fraser Mackenzie getting better all the time," added Hamilton.