Luke Romano has reflected on the major injury that ruled him out of the rest of 2014 from May onwards last year.
The Crusaders lock broke his fibula and tore the ligaments around his ankle playing against the Reds.
Not initially realising the damage, Romano tried to “walk it off” but after being stretchered to the changing room was set for a surgery that included putting in a plate and a total of nine screws.
Ready now to make his return having been bursting to play in pre-season, Romano is eager to get back into action in a big year for club and country for the lock with 17 Test caps.
“At the time I just thought it was a bad ankle sprain and I said to the physio I would try to walk it off,” Romano told The Press.
“I got to the 40m line but when I got there I couldn’t go any further. I could feel something sort of squishing up and down in my leg and I thought ‘this just doesn’t feel right’ and I will get off the field. But by then I just could not walk anymore.
“Once I got back to the changing room the pain really set in.
“It was just a freak accident; it wasn’t something that I had done training-wise, or I hadn’t done, that caused it. It is not the break that takes all the time to heal, it is all the ligaments and tendons re-attaching that takes the time.
“I guess I can look at it as a bit of a sabbatical. Hopefully it might extend my career here a year or two longer.
“I have had a longer pre-season where I can try and put a bit of size on, get a bit stronger and focus on that for a four or five-month period.”