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Scott Waldrom refocuses after injuries

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

The Hurricanes openside flanker, who made his sole appearance in the black jersey against Munster in 2008, looked odds on to make Graham Henry's 2009 squads as back up to Richie McCaw only to have his hopes dashed by back and knee injuries.

Waldrom broke three bones in his back in the Super 14 semi-final loss to the Chiefs and battled back from that only to suffer a knee injury during the Air New Zealand Cup with Taranaki which ruled him out of contention for the end-of-season tour.

"It was one of those annoying knee injuries that didn't settle down. It needed a decent break. It's got that and it's feeling good now," he said as the Hurricanes step up preparations for the Rebel Sport Super 14 season-opener against the Blues on Friday.

"In the back of my mind there is that goal [All Blacks selection] but you've obviously got to play well first so it will be good to get out there and do what I can for the team and play the best I can."

The time away from the field has given Waldrom the opportunity to get his body right and the 29-year-old loose forward is enjoying the benefits of that now.

"I managed to dot down last week [in the pre-season game against the Chiefs] which was pretty good because it's been a while," he said.

"The pre-season has been really good. Certainly having this time off has given me time to work on the fitness and strength in the gym so it's probably the best it's been in a while."

He, and rival for the Hurricanes No.7 jersey, Karl Lowe, have also had to get to grips with the new laws at the breakdown.

"You probably just can't cheat as much as we'd normally do," Waldrom said laughing.

"We've got to show that we've let go of the player and let go of the ball rather than tackling them and holding on and trying to make it look like we're on our feet while we're still lying on the ground.

"Now we have to get on our feet and work just that little bit harder."

The Hurricanes have a reasonable start to the 2010 campaign with the trip to the Blues followed by home matches against the Western Force and Lions.

"The Blues will probably be a good indicator to see where we are for our first off game," said Waldrom.

"They will be looking to resurrect themselves after a disappointing season last year and there are a lot of players there who want higher honours as well and to get back into some good form so it's going to be a tough game."

It will also be the first competitive game against former team-mates Alby Mathewson and Daniel Kirkpatrick and Waldrom expects the banter will flow.

"There will be a bit of ribbing I think but most of it will be kept quiet until the final whistle.

"You wouldn't want to give them too much grief and not have the result go your way."