Five and a half months later and Bridge is back for the Crusaders

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His injury occurred last year when involved in a defence drill. He didn't think it was as bad as it turned out to be when it occurred. He felt he had just taken a knock to his bicep, but the team doctor had pulled him from training to have the injury scanned.

 

It had 'popped', and that resulted in his absence for five and a half months.

 

"I got stepped on the inside and slid out going that way and put my arm out to make a tackle, and it got wrenched back and popped off the bone.

 

"I had surgery about a week after I did it, and then I was in a sling for six weeks.

 

"It was a pretty slow start because it had fully ripped off the bone, so they had to drill a couple of holes into it, stitch it back on, then had to wait for it to fuse back to it before I could start my rehab."

 

Bridge returned to the family farm in Gisborne in early December, returning to Christchurch in January to get into his rehab.

 

Since then he had built up week by week, getting some muscle back and getting the motion back in his shoulder and upper arm. It was only at that stage that his shoulder was strong enough for him to get back into running. His main exercise before then was cycling.

 

 

"It's been hard watching, but it gets the fizz going because it creates a competitive edge, even at training. So, now that I'm fit again, I can concentrate on the game this week and start, hopefully, getting a bit of form back so that I can get into whatever comes for the rest of the year.

 

"Even within the Crusaders, since I've been here, there's been so much competition, but that's the beauty of being part of this environment," he said.

 

The side had made a good start to the year and heading into their second block of games looking to build on their efforts.

 

He said he hadn't played on the right-wing for a long time as a starter but was just happy to be back out on the field. He did admit the enforced break had left him feeling a lot fresher going into his new season.

 

Coach Scott Robertson explained the reason behind placing him on the right-wing.

 

"Leicester [Faingaa'nuku] has been superb for us, and we just wanted to make sure we had flexibility in our options in our backs, and to give George the chance to play on both wings because he can play fullback as well.

 

"He can show the All Blacks selectors that he's got utility factor and can play both sides," he said.

 

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