Fresh start for Mackintosh
Invercargill - Former All Blacks and Highlanders prop Jamie Mackintosh hopes to be able to make an impact this season after having major surgery to correct hip issues that have plagued him throughout the 2011 Super Rugby and ITM Cup campaigns.
According to the allblacks.com website
, Mackintosh, who captains Southland, underwent serious surgery which not only saw his hip and abductor muscles operated on, but the giant prop then stared down over four months of rehabilitation that has culminated in the first tentative steps onto the training field.
The Highlanders, who almost came back to beat the Chiefs over the weekend, will face the Blues in Auckland for their final pre-season match - before heading to Hamilton to again meet the New Zealand Conference rivals.
Speaking to the Southland Times, Mackintosh said the early season injury was something that had to be put aside for the sake of the Highlanders and Southlanders.
"Last year wasn't that pleasant playing-wise," he said.
"I picked it up early in the Super Rugby pre-season and just sort of gutsed out the rest of the year with it. It's good to get it done but at this stage it's still there and I can still feel it. Step by step it's getting better.”
"It's just more of a frustrating injury. The operation is done and now it's on the mend but it's about a lot of rehab and listening to my body, which I'm probably not too good at,"
Mackintosh is a key part of the Highlanders armoury, considering the men from the Deep South regard their forward prowess as one of their strike weapons, but the big front rower said that he not rush his comeback into the team.
"If I'm not quite ready then (fellow prop Bronson Murray) is playing really well,” he said.
“Personally, I'd love to start but if I know I'm not ready it's about being honest and having a yarn to Jamie (coach Jamie Joseph).”