Heinz eyes England jersey

Date published: July 8 2015

Gloucester scrum-half Willi Heinz is already targeting the England jersey, despite having only just returning from a broken leg suffered in January.

The new arrival at the Cherry and Whites is English qualified through his grandmother and should be back playing rugby in time for 2015/16's season.

It has been quite a journey for Heinz, who recounted his injury at the Crusaders.

"It's been a long road, I broke my leg back in January and there's another month to go before I'm out on the field but there's light at the end of the tunnel," he told the Gloucester Citizen.

"I was going to make a tackle and as I was down low ready to tackle with my right shoulder my left leg got caught and I twisted over it.

"I snapped both bones in my lower leg. They cut in through my knee and I have a rod that goes the length of my tibia. It's been a frustrating year but having this carrot of a new team and challenge gave me something to work towards.

"The timing has been pretty good, the World Cup is on which means the Premiership has been delayed and that works in my favour and I'll be ready for the start of the season.

"While having a broken leg is a disadvantage, it's given my body time to recover. I've had six months off which I wouldn't usually have and providing I get the leg right my body will come back in better nick than ever before."

Over the years Heinz has battled with All Black Andy Ellis for the starting jersey at the Crusaders and is expected to face a similar story with Scotland number nine Greig Laidlaw at Gloucester. However, he believes he can also compete for an international spot.

"I still feel like I'm young enough to offer something at the top level. I didn't manage to get quite there in New Zealand," he continued.

"But I can't get ahead of myself I have to get fit and play good rugby for Gloucester first and if further honours come then I'm keen."

He added: "I have been lucky enough to play alongside some of the greats of rugby, the likes of Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read.

"I guess rubbing shoulders with those guys on a daily basis you get to see the level they are at and as a young player it's about trying to attain to that level of professionalism.

"I base my game around a really accurate pass and being really quick around the field. But I don't want to say too much, I want to do my talking on the pitch.

"From what I've heard the fans are extremely passionate and very loyal. I'm coming from a similar environment and know playing in front of a home crowd which really gets behind you is a massive advantage."