PLYMOUTH Albion hooker James Penman is delighted to be back in action after two months out with a calf injury.
The New Zealander made his comeback last Saturday against Henley Hawks when he came on as a replacement for the final 30 minutes of Albion’s 27-8 victory.
That was his first taste of competitive rugby since facing Loughborough Students on December 12.
“It was really good to be back,” said Penman. “It was almost two months I was out, so I was chomping at the bit.
“I felt great out there. The injury is always in the back of your mind during that first hit out, but it was good for my confidence to get that good half-an-hour under my belt, especially when the ground is heavy under foot.”
Penman actually came on and played in the back-row against Henley before moving to his normal position at hooker.
“I was loving it in the back-row for my little 20 minute cameo,” he said. “I wonder if Graham will put me there in the future? I don’t think so!”
In Penman’s absence, Rupert Freestone has made the Albion number two jersey his own.
Penman admits he is going to have to work hard to get the shirt back.
“Rupert has not put a foot wrong the whole time,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding and the boys have been winning.
“I’ll just have to see where I can add my skill-set to the team to help keep the machine going.”
This season no player has been guaranteed an instant return to the team after injury. Even captain Jake Murphy had to wait.
Penman said: “I was speaking to Rupert about it and everyone has a similar sort of thought. Of course we all want to be in the starting team, but you also want everyone in the starting team to be playing well because it’s good for the club and good for us.”