ACT Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White says he is playing without pain for the first time in more than 12 months following off-season shoulder surgery.
White resumed contact training with the Brumbies last week, and the former Queanbeyan Whites halfback is confident he’ll be fit to take the field in time for the club’s second pre-season trial early next month.
“I feel good, I feel like the shoulder is at 100 per cent which I could never actually say honestly last year,” White said. “There was always a niggle there and it’s been a while since I played with two good shoulders so I’m looking forward to getting back into it.”
The 22-year-old carried the troublesome shoulder complaint throughout the Brumbies campaign last year but still impressed enough to secure a Wallabies call-up.
And entering 2013 as a firmly established member of the Wallabies program, White will have added incentive to push his claims for his first international cap this year.
Australia is set to host the British and Irish Lions touring side for the first time in 12 years later this year, with White looming as the likely heir apparent to incumbent Wallabies half Will Genia.
“There are a lot of Wallabies who’ve been in the side for a long time and they’ve never played a Lions tour,” White said. “To be a part of one would be a big deal…it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“Hopefully now that I’ve had the reconstruction I can hit the ground running with two shoulders at 100 per cent and play myself back into the side.”
Before then however, White will be focused on helping guide the Brumbies to a Super Rugby finals berth after the club’s disappointing seventh-place finish last season.
The Brumbies had appeared set for a return to the finals for the first time since 2004 under new coach Jake White last year. But a heartbreaking final round loss to the Auckland Blues saw the Canberra side finish just outside the all-important top six.
The Brumbies first pre-season trial will be against the Western Force in Darwin on February 1.