Injury forces Stags hooker Hall to ponder future

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
David Hall
Robyn Edie/Fairfax NZ
SEASON OVER: Veteran Stags hooker David Hall will ponder his rugby future after a season-ending bicep injury.

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Stags centurion David Hall says he will give it a few weeks before pondering his rugby future as he deals with a season ending injury.

The veteran hooker, who has played 101 games for Southland from 2000 through to 2013, had surgery last week on his torn right bicep.

The injury happened in the 79th minute of his Pirates-Old Boys team's Southland premier club victory over Midlands on June 21.

The 34-year-old said yesterday he felt in the best shape he had for many years, dropping 9kgs at one stage before putting on 4kgs to ensure he didn't get too small.

Hall was determined to push for another season with the Stags but with his arm in a sling yesterday he said the injury setback had thrown up some questions he would need to answer.

"I was hoping to maybe play another two or three seasons with the Stags if selected, but with this injury it throws it up in the air with what I'm going to do. It's just gutting, because with new coaches and new ideas going around it is exciting times but now not to be involved is gut-wrenching.

"This injury has sort of thrown me a bit, I'll just have to sit down with the likes of Jason McKenzie and probably Peter Skelt in a few weeks and I'll make a few decisions once my arm is a bit better and I'm in a better head space. I'll make some decisions then if I want to play anymore and put my body through it all again. I honestly don't know yet."

Hall had thought his playing days with the Stags were over when he was overlooked for a contract with Rugby Southland for the 2012 season and headed to play for Northland.

However, he returned home to Invercargill last year to take up a job as rugby director at Southland Boys' High School and also rejoined his club, Pirates-Old Boys, as a player/coach.

Hall was a late call up to the Stags squad for the 2013 campaign and said that reignited his desire to play at the provincial level again.

"Obviously last year it come late and I didn't have to do all the hard work, but this year we've been going since January getting flogged up and down the beaches running all those runs, so the boys have been working real hard. That's what guts me, this year I'd put in more effort to get myself into the best shape I'd been in for a long time. I'd trained really hard to get myself into that good shape and obviously was looking forward to getting back into the Stags if selected. I was loving my footy this year, all that passion had come back."

He conceded it could be tough watching from the sidelines but said he was encouraged with how the Stags were shaping up for the 2014 campaign.

"It's going good, Brad [Mooar], Derm [Clarke Dermody] and Hoon [Hoani Macdonald] have got some great ideas. Goof [David Henderson] did a great job but it is probably good to get some fresh ideas in there and see how they go. Hopefully, they have a good season."

While Hall will be a loss hooker is one position Southland have depth in.

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Hall's long time team-mate Jason Rutledge is again in the mix, although is carrying a calf injury at the moment.

Talemaitoga Tuapati has been on international duty with Fiji and will return to push for his place in the Stags again.

Youngsters Dillon Halaholo [Marist] and Malo Magele [Blues] have shifted south and are also likely to come into consideration for the Stags squad. They will get there chance to impress tonight when they lineup for Town against Country in the matchup at Rugby Park in Invercargill.

The game is being used as a selection tool for the Stags and will kick-off at 7pm.

AT A GLANCE

● Hall made his Southland debut in 2002 against Marlborough which was his first game at hooker making a rapid transformation from a loose-forward to a frontrower with then coach Phil Young the mastermind behind the move.

● He played 89 games for Southland from 2002 to 2011 before heading to play for Northland in 2012 and playing a further eight provincial games for them. Last year he returned to Southland and was again selected for the Stags, playing in all 12 games to take his Southland tally to 101 games.

● He played his 100th game for the Stags against Hawke's Bay and in doing so become the 12th player to play 100 games for Southland.

● Hall has been part of three different Super Rugby franchises - the Highlanders, Crusaders and Hurricanes.

● The former Southland Boys' High School pupil has also represented Southland at cricket.

- Southland

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