Sturgess Eyes Return To Action
20th June 2014
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The 32-year-old forward has been sidelined since December when he sustained a serious knee ligament injury in the dying moments of his side's loss to Harlequins in Big Game 6 at Twickenham.

Since that untimely blow Sturgess has been grafting away on his rehabilitation programme, ensuring he not only recovers from the injury, but gets himself in perfect nick for what promises to be another big season for the Westcountry club.

Part of the process means he - along with a few other Chiefs players - have had to miss this week's squad team bonding trip to Spain to continue their recovery process.

“My recovery is going really well,” said Sturgess. “I’m 16 weeks post-op now and I’m running and doing really good leg weights again and progressing next week to off-line running and upping the load a bit more.

“We’re hoping I can feature in the pre-season block of games if all goes well. The guys go on the team building this week, which some of us are not able to go on because of our injuries.

“While it would be nice to go away abroad, it will be better for us to be back raring to go for the start of the season.”

Sturgess is not on his own working on his rehabilitation, as England winger Jack Nowell and lock Damian Welch have also been regulars at the club’s temporary base at the University of Exeter while redevelopment works put Sandy Park out of action.

They will be joined by the majority of the rest of their team-mates – bar the ones who have been on international duty this summer – from Monday as the first five-week block of pre-season training gets under way.

And Sturgess is looking forward to the summer’s sessions starting in earnest next week, even if they are in unfamiliar surroundings.

“It’s been interesting as we signed off at Sandy Park when everyone went for their time off and guys like myself, Jack Nowell and Damian Welch got sent to the university in a little bunker, which was quite good,” he said.

“We’ve set up camp now for pre-season and it’s quite good to get away from the club and it’ll be exciting when we get back because it’ll be new for everybody.

“This will be my eighth year at the club and while I love it, it’s nice to have a bit of a change even within the club. We’re set up in a big marquee, but it’s set up really nicely and I’m looking forward to starting next week.”

As all players are aware, the pain of pre-season training is a necessary evil and it's the first opportunity to lay down your marker for the upcoming season.

Sturgess is well aware that in his enforced absence fellow prop Ben Moon has taken the opportunity to showcase his own credentials to head coach Rob Baxter - and with other talent also in the shake-up for a spot in the Exeter front-row this term, the battle for places is sure to be intense from the outset.

“One of the disappointing things about the injury is that I wasn’t able to get the starting jersey back,” he said.

“You’re not guaranteed your place but after previous seasons you may feel you’re going into the next season holding the jersey. This season I definitely know I’m going in as second choice and will need a good pre-season and perform in the pre-season games to try to get my place back.

“I don’t like sitting on the bench behind anybody so I definitely want to be fighting for the position.”

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Dave B

Member since: 10th July 2012

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