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Thrush ready for return to fray

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Sportal.co.nz     27 Jun 2013     Getty Images

That's been the case for Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush who would have every reason to pinch himself having made his All Blacks debut during the three-week international window.

Having been called into the squad as the result of a broken finger suffered by Sam Whitelock, Thrush got an unexpected career boost and a prized All Blacks jersey when playing during the second Test victory over France at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.

But it is back into action as the Hurricanes end their season with the Chiefs, the Highlanders and the Crusaders.

The three weeks in the All Blacks environment had been most enjoyable and caused him to re-assess his goals when he returned to Wellington where he aimed to play some good football for the Hurricanes.

Thrush said the big thing he took from the exposure to the international environment was understanding the way the side built up during the week.

"The way they get through their week, the way the plan it, has been hugely beneficial and just to be exposed to that environment it was pretty awesome to get in there, and to make you sure you want to get back there," he said.

So far as locking aspects he said there was plenty of focus on getting things right.

"The coaches tap you on the shoulder and help you work on little things to make you a better player and to help you get better so it was pointing out a mass of things that they found in my game, which I guess is pleasing and it is just those little things that can help you and give you that extra time in a game," he said.

It would be a case of attempting to implement some of those aspects into his game for the benefit of the Hurricanes overall.

He didn't expect it would be too much trouble for the side to switch back into action after three weeks off. While he didn't have that opportunity this year, the break was something he found timely last year.

"It's good to give the body a bit of a rest and you get rejuvenated pretty quickly to get back into it," he said, while practice games, against the Reds last year, and the Crusaders this year, were of benefit in working on plans to produce against the next opponents.

There would be no surprises in what the Chiefs would have to offer, and that would be right on the Hurricanes mind given the sides met each in the round before the break. Their forward pack was strong.

"It's quite good for both of us, kind of fresh in our memory what we expect of each other and I think the enthusiasm levels will be pretty high because the boys haven't been able to play much footy in the last three weeks so they'll be pretty keen to get into it and get stuck in," he said.

While the results haven't been what might have been expected this year after the advances last season, Thrush felt the side was a better side than last year. There was also development and back-up that had grown and the side would be the better for that as a result.

And having signed with the NZRU until the end of 2015 he said he had sat on the decision for a while but the desire to be an All Black had been central to his thinking.

"I knew if I stuck to my guns I would get there and in the end [the decision] wasn't hard at all. I want to be here and to play for the Hurricanes. I've got a lot of pride in my province and I'm a proud Kiwi so to get that jersey was pretty special and I just want to add to that and keep trying to get into that environment and keep playing well," he said.