Newcastle Falcons captain James Hudson is targeting next month’s trip to Bath as he battles back to aid his side’s Premiership survival push, reports Mark Smith.
IN the week new broom Gary Gold swept into Kingston Park, Hudson admits he has had little contact with the South African.
In rugby’s brutal world it is only the fit and able who demand the greatest attention, and Hudson does not slot into either category at the moment.
Instead, on the white-board behind former head coach Alan Tait’s desk, his name is scribbled in the column marked ‘dead men’ – meaning those unable to join in with team training.
“Initially I took a fair bit of stick from the lads, who were saying I was up to a C-cup because of the swelling,” joked the lock-forward, whose torn pectoral saw him pulled from the action midway through his side’s home defeat to Northampton Saints on New Year’s Eve.
As is often the way, it was no high-speed collision which has drawn him from duty, the 30-year-old revealing: “The way it happened was totally innocuous – just making a low tackle around somebody’s legs.
“I tried to pull them back and I just felt something go in my chest.
“It was fine for the rest of the half making front-on tackles, but whenever I had to pull anybody in or reach out I was struggling.
“As much as I wanted to carry on playing and the coaches were keen for me to get back out there, the doctor rightly put his foot down.
“He knew I had torn my pectoral and would not let me on the field.”
Infuriating inactivity has given way to gradual gymnasium gains with Hudson able to lift the bar again – albeit it without any weights attached.
He added: “I don’t think I am going to be setting any bench-press world records anytime soon, but it is coming along well.
“It is actually better than expected, because initially we had feared a much longer lay-off.”
Comebacks remain a perennial moving target with so many unknowns to negotiate, but Hudson makes no bones about the date etched in his mind as the Falcons return to league action at Bath three weeks today.
He said: “That is the big target but I know with this injury I will need that little bit of time to get the shoulder back up to strength before the match itself.
“I will have to be back in training for the start of that week, but I am getting great medical care at the club.”