NEWCASTLE Falcons prop Jonny Golding has revealed that calculated rehab rather than mid-season injury was behind his six-week absence from match action.
The 30-year-old loose-head made a successful playing return on New Year’s Day against Doncaster, and hopes to attack the back half of the season from a position of strength following his scheduled winter respite.
“I have not been injured this season, actually,” explained the former England Saxons cap, who scored the Falcons’ try in their last match against Connacht Eagles.
“What we did was decide to take some time out just to do rehab on an old injury to my Achilles, basically strengthening it on my weaker side.
“It wasn’t a new injury as such, more just a scheduled block out to make sure it was right and to get everything set for the second half of what we all know is a very important season.”
Declaring the mid-season interlude a useful exercise, the Ashington-born scrummager said: “The Achilles is totally fine now.
“It is the best it has felt in ages, I feel great on it and the way we have worked the time out seems to have benefited everyone.
“Most players will agree it is pretty frustrating to be watching from the side-lines, but I am back playing now and enjoying every minute of it.”
In Golding’s absence the Falcons have turned to Scottish prospect Grant Shiells to fill the No 1 shirt, with the former Kelso man a contender to make his Scotland A debut at Kingston Park a week on Friday when they take on England Saxons.
As well as handing valuable minutes to a burgeoning prospect, the decision to stand Golding down for six weeks will hopefully be useful in terms of match freshness when the promotion play-offs come round.