Fredericks frustrated by injury

JOHN ALEXANDER
Last updated 10:43 02/05/2012

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There's nothing more frustrating than seeing a quality sportsman unable to play because they are injured – a situation felt even more keenly by the player concerned.

That's the case with Waitohi and Tasman Makos forward Vernon Fredericks. The classy 2011 Marlborough Express club rugby player of the year, is out of action for several more weeks after sustaining a serious shoulder injury while playing the off-season in England for the Newport Salop club.

Playing loose forward in the Midlands division three competition, Fredericks suffered the injury soon after recovering from another.

"It was my first tackle back from a hamstring injury", he said. "I came flying out of the line. I must have hit him the wrong way. Fractured my scapula in four places.

"Luckily it didn't need an operation, I just have to let it heal. I think I'll have to strap it up from now and wear shoulder pads."

After four weeks with his arm in a sling, physiotherapy has now got some movement back in it and he's positive about turning out for Waitohi this season.

"It's still quite weak. I might miss the first two games of the second round but I want to get back for Waitohi after that.

"Hopefully the start of the second round."

Travelling overseas for the first time beyond Australia was a memorable experience, he said. "I played number eight or flanker and quite enjoyed it. It's different rugby. More forward orientated and they use their first-five a lot for kicking. It's slower rugby.

"I did a few more pick and goes than I normally would here."

The weather played a major factor in the style of rugby and generally wasn't flash.

"We had a few games cancelled because the ground was frozen. The weather wasn't great. It was always muddy and slow."

According to an email from last year's Waitohi player-coach Troy Looms, who now lives in England, Fredericks played outstanding rugby for Newport Salop and was a major reason they avoided relegation.

Another player from last year's champion Waitohi team, utility back Kenneth Karena, also played for Newport Salop and from all accounts, Looms said he also enjoyed a good season.

Among Fredericks' destinations was France and while there he met up with two of his former Tasman Makos team-mates, Tasi Luafutu and Jonathan Poff. He said they love the rugby in France, and in particular the lifestyle.

Converting from loose-forward to hooker a couple of years ago enabled him to break into the Tasman Makos squad but reverting back to his old role looks likely in the future.

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"I quite enjoy playing flanker. I don't have to worry about throwing the ball in to the lineouts and the Makos have already contracted two hookers [Francis Smith and Quentin MacDonald].

"As long as I can get some position I don't mind.

" I've signed a two-year contract with the Makos before I went overseas. If I didn't get that I probably wouldn't have come back."

Fredericks is just looking forward to playing club rugby again and having a strong ITM Cup campaign but said he might well head overseas again in the next New Zealand off-season depending on how his body copes during the next few months.

- The Marlborough Express

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