Fit-again Western Force loose forward Locky McCaffrey plans to make a statement leading into the 2013 Super Rugby season.
Severely hampered by a niggling ankle injury that plagued him throughout 2012, the 22-year-old still managed seven appearances, including starting at No.8 for the final two matches of the season.
The ailment was initially suffered in 2010 playing for Eastwood in their Shute Shield preliminary final loss to Randwick, soon after signing a two-year contract with the Western Force from the Waratahs Academy.
Forced to sit out the 2011 season following the dislocation, McCaffrey says he’s now feeling as fit as he has for the past three years.
“It’s been the best it’s been since dislocating it two years ago,” he said. “With the help of Joycey [Head of Athletic Performance David Joyce] and now Mids [Head Physiotherapist, Emidio Pacceca], we’ve tried some new methods with strapping and managing it and it’s really helped.
“It was pretty horrible last season; I struggled to put two sessions together and it was pretty sore throughout the year. I had an op post-season in Sydney which helped a lot and since then it’s just been getting better and better.”
Having not missed a session of full training in two-and-a-half weeks, McCaffrey has targeted continuing his unblemished record for the remainder of the pre-season.
“Each session it feels like it’s getting better and better and I’m running easier,” he said. “By the time trials come along I’ll be in good shape and ready to go. I’ve just got to prove to the coaches that I’m ready for the first trial and for the start of the Super Rugby season.”
McCaffrey has been retained in a heavily revamped Western Force squad and has enjoyed re-establishing his working relationship with head coach Michael Foley, with whom he worked during 2009 and 2010 at the Waratahs.
“Foles is very good with all forwards stuff and I learnt a lot from him, particularly only being 18 and 19 and he really helped my game develop,” he said. “He likes my skill set, he’s helping me with areas I need to improve and I’m looking forward to that relationship continuing to grow.
Having been given his opportunity – albeit not at 100 percent – last season, the former Australian Schools and Under-20 representative is keen to capitalise on any opportunities he’s afforded during 2013.
“Last year gave me a bit more confidence and experience but, being realistic, there were a few injuries that gave me that opportunity,” he said.
“But the opportunity was great and something I really want to get again. We’ve got a new coaching staff this year – with the exception of Stilesy [forwards coach Nick Stiles] – so I need to get on the front foot, show them my skill set and prove to them that if they put me in that position I’ll do a good job.”
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.