Hurricanes No. 8 Brayden Iose returns from broken wrist three months earlier
Pacific Super Rugby: Hurricanes vs Force
Where: HBF Park, Perth When: Sunday, 12 p.m.
Live: Sky Sport 1, live updates on Things.
Brayden Iose thought his Super Rugby Pacific season was over when he broke his wrist in the Hurricanes’ shock loss to Moana Pasifika in the fifth round.
The promising No.8 was told by his surgeon he was at risk of up to five months out after picking up an injury on his debut, but a faster than expected recovery saw Iose return a week after the quarter-finals.
Iose was named the starter for the Hurricanes’ final game against the Force in Perth (kick-off midnight Saturday) as they chase a quarter-final at home.
The 23-year-old’s return is a welcome boost for the Hurricanes, who have been hit hard by illness, with coach Jason Holland, Jordie Barrett and Ruben Love unable to make the trip after being struck down by the flu .
* Hurricanes flier Wes Goosen signs to play for Edinburgh in Scotland
* Super Rugby Pacific playoffs can help All Blacks manager Ian Foster confirm his captain
* Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders plug into power Leicester Fainga’anuku
Iose will be part of a new trio of loose forwards with Caleb Delany blindfolded and Du’Plessis Kirifi opening, with returning captain Ardie Savea set to make an impact off the bench in the second half.
“When you bring a player of Brayden’s class and quality back into your squad, that’s a good thing,” said assistant coach Chris Gibbes, who will take the helm with Holland back in New Zealand.
“I must continue to emphasize that there is very good competition for these positions. Devan [Flanders] isn’t far away, Reed Prinsep isn’t far away, so at the end of the season we’re starting to get the guys back from long-term injuries, which is great.
“Brayden worked hard to get an opportunity.”
Hurricanes were hit with the flu, with the coach and key players missing the trip to Perth.
Iose said he was delighted to be able to return before the end of the season, giving him a chance to raise his hand for a quarter-final next weekend.
“It was quite an interesting process,” he said.
“The surgeon told me at first it would be five months, but it’s been eight weeks and hopefully I’ll run out on Saturday, everything will be fine.”
So how did he manage to speed up his recovery and turn a five-month injury into a two-month injury?
“I think it’s a combination of things. Just the job that the S&C [strength and conditioning coach] and the physios have set up and have clear objectives that we were going to achieve.
“I was given this ultrasound machine which I put on my wrist every day and it was up in the air if it would help or not but I feel like it has been beneficial for my healing and ever since that I have my cast the therapy that I had was really good.
“They did everything to get me back on the pitch.”
The Hurricanes head into the final round with a quarter-final berth already secured, but they’ll still have something to play for if another result comes their way.
If Fijian Drua can upset the Chiefs in Lautoka on Saturday afternoon, then the Hurricanes will have a chance of breaking into the top four if they beat the Force, who need to win to have any hope of making the rugby final.
The Hurricanes currently sit in fifth place with 38 points, three points below the Chiefs.
They can finish as high as fourth and as low as seventh.
“The Force is a great physical team,” Iose said. “Tuesday’s game they showed what they can do when they throw a maul.
“So the preparation around me just focused on my role and making sure I nailed the physique.
“It’s my first time to Perth so it was a long day of travel and there was a bit of jet lag on the boys waking up early but I had a great night’s sleep sleep, so hopefully I can adjust to the time zone and come Saturday night, I’ll be good to go.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes have confirmed that winger Wes Goosen, who will wear the No.14 shirt against the Force, will leave at the end of the season to sign a contract with Scottish club Edinburgh.