Western Force skipper Matt Hodgson is confident his body will hold firm for the rest of the Super Rugby campaign, saying his pre-season hamstring injury was a one-in-a-million occurrence.
Hodgson, who tore his right hamstring during a pre-season game, will make his long-awaited return in Friday night’s clash with the second-placed Chiefs in New Zealand.
The 33-year-old faces a crunch time as he attempts to work his way into World Cup calculations, and he’s confident the injury won’t strike again.
“It was a one-in-a-million type of injury,” Hodgson said on Monday.
“I was unlucky enough to get stuck under a body and get cleaned out at the same time.
“The hamstring had nowhere to go, so it was either that or the knee. I chose to do the hamstring because it’s a shorter recovery.
“If I had any fears, I wouldn’t be coming back.”
The last-placed Force are now just one defeat away from equalling their longest-ever losing streak of nine set back in their debut season of 2006.
Hodgson is desperate to halt the slide, and he said there were enough positives to take out of last week’s 13-6 loss to the Stormers to suggest the Force were on the upward trend.
And after spending almost three months on the sidelines, the Wallabies flanker can’t wait to get back out onto the park.
“Last night I was packing my bag and I almost put my suit in it,” Hodgson said.
“So it’s good to throw that away and actually pack some footy boots.
“The body feels great. I did a full week of training last week.
“A few of the starting 15 boys didn’t like me because I was too eager and I put a few shots on.”
Lock Sam Wykes, who filled in as skipper during Hodgson’s absence, is set to spend at least two weeks on the sidelines because of a foot injury.
Scrumhalf Alby Mathewson (knee) will also miss the team’s two-match tour of New Zealand.
Hodgson, who has re-signed with the Force for a further two years, played his way into Wallabies contention with a standout Super Rugby campaign last year.
The hard-working veteran would love nothing more than the chance to play for Australia at the 2015 World Cup, but for now his focus is squarely set on helping the Force get off the foot of the table.