Super Rugby Pacific: Veteran TJ Perenara could make his injury return this season

Dylan Coetzee
Super Rugby Pacific Hurricanes star TJ Perenara passes the ball in a warm-up

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland believes there is a chance TJ Perenara could return from injury before the end of Super Rugby Pacific.

The veteran scrum-half has been sidelined since the All Blacks’ dramatic draw against England in November last year, where Perenara left the field with a ruptured Achilles that sparked concerns whether he would recover in time for the Rugby World Cup this year.

Positive signs

However, Perenara has made impressive strides on the recovery front, as he was seen running at Hurricanes training this week.

When asked about the return of the Hurricanes great, Holland joked he would replace the suspended Ardie Savea at number eight this weekend.

“Yeah mate, he’s playing number eight in the weekend,” Holland told Rugby Pass.

“Nah, he’s been running which is a bit ridiculous really.

“We have all the facilities out there that he can run, like a pretty awesome machine that takes some of his body weight away and he can run on the treadmill there too.

“But he’s on track to be playing before the end of the season without a shadow of a doubt.

“It might be different to what the medics expectations were when he first did it but I’ve seen TJ before and he tends to get back a hell of a lot quicker than what he’s supposed to and what normal people do.”

Taking chances

As one door closes, another often opens, and Cam Roigard has taken his chance in Perenara’s absence with both hands, registering some fine shifts in the opening two rounds. Jamie Booth has also made valid contributions from the base of the ruck.

Holland praised the duo and their performances so far and is excited to see the competition when Perenara returns.

“The boys have been outstanding,” he said.

“Cam is playing some awesome footy and the control that Boothy adds, he’s a smart rugby head and he comes on and knows exactly how to get the team home.

“There might be scope going forward to play them the other way around because we know just how good Cam is off the bench, like we know Boothy is.

“Getting Teej back, it will be good competition.”

Holland’s side turn their attention to a tricky task, hosting the Blues this weekend, who come off a painful loss to the Brumbies in the Super Round.

READ MORE: Ardie Savea: All Blacks and Hurricanes star ‘accepts’ ban for throat-slitting gesture