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I feel better for mybreak, says prop Jonny Golding

NEWCASTLE Falcons prop Jonny Golding has revealed that calculated rehab rather than mid-season injury was behind his six-week absence from match action.

Newcastle Falcons' Jon Golding

NEWCASTLE Falcons prop Jonny Golding has revealed that calculated rehab rather than mid-season injury was behind his six-week absence from match action.

The 30-year-old loose-head made a successful playing return on New Year’s Day against Doncaster, and hopes to attack the back half of the season from a position of strength following his scheduled winter respite.

“I have not been injured this season, actually,” explained the former England Saxons cap, who scored the Falcons’ try in their last match against Connacht Eagles.

“What we did was decide to take some time out just to do rehab on an old injury to my Achilles, basically strengthening it on my weaker side.

“It wasn’t a new injury as such, more just a scheduled block out to make sure it was right and to get everything set for the second half of what we all know is a very important season.”

Declaring the mid-season interlude a useful exercise, the Ashington-born scrummager said: “The Achilles is totally fine now.

“It is the best it has felt in ages, I feel great on it and the way we have worked the time out seems to have benefited everyone.

“Most players will agree it is pretty frustrating to be watching from the side-lines, but I am back playing now and enjoying every minute of it.”

In Golding’s absence the Falcons have turned to Scottish prospect Grant Shiells to fill the No 1 shirt, with the former Kelso man a contender to make his Scotland A debut at Kingston Park a week on Friday when they take on England Saxons.

As well as handing valuable minutes to a burgeoning prospect, the decision to stand Golding down for six weeks will hopefully be useful in terms of match freshness when the promotion play-offs come round.

Despite already being 16 points clear at the top of the Championship, they still have to negotiate a home-and-away semi-final and final to return to the top flight at the first attempt, with the knockout stages dragging the season out until the last week of May.

Golding said: “From the club’s point of view they have been able to use a bit of rotation and give game-time to guys who have done well, then from my own angle I am fresh and it gives us good longevity in that position.

“I am thankful that the coaches and medical staff have given me that opportunity and worked things so well.

“It is great to be back, I am enjoying my involvement and hopefully the team will benefit by guys being fresh for when the business end comes round.” The Falcons are next in action on Friday night when Cornish Pirates visit the North East, or at least they hope to be if they can manage to beat the elements.

Supporters were yesterday at Kingston Park armed with wheelbarrows and shovels, aiming to avoid a second consecutive postponement after Saturday’s British and Irish Cup tie at Cross Keys was snowed off.

The crowd could be bolstered by a special offer of free entry for all current and retired Armed Services and NHS personnel, who can also get additional tickets for family members for £5 by contacting the club in advance.

The Pirates are currently fifth in the table, Golding stating: “All the teams around that top six are dangerous.

“There are really good teams in this competition and you can never switch off, but if we look after ourselves and stick to our game then we will give ourselves a good chance.

“Recently we have taken our foot off the gas a little bit, but the boys and the coaches are looking to raise our standards and really fly into this back half of the season.”



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