Some "unfinished business" for former back of the year James Marshall has seen him re-sign with Taranaki for next season.
The 24-year-old, who has been sidelined since the end of the Super Rugby season after he elected to have hip surgery, missed Taranaki's entire National Provincial Championship campaign.
Coming off contract, Marshall admitted to being a "little bit" tempted to return to his home province of Tasman, especially after the Makos were promoted from the NPC championship to the premiership.
"My brother [Tom] is still down there and all my family is still down there and it's still home for me," he said.
"But I feel like there is a bit of unfinished business with Taranaki and I've really enjoyed my time up there. They have got a really good set-up and hopefully we can turn around what was a really disappointing season.
"We have to get back to where we all know we can be."
Marshall said his rehabilitation had gone well, he was ahead of schedule for his comeback, while the surgeon who reshaped bone on both hips was delighted with his progress.
Although he has been prevented from running, he has spent plenty of hours on the bike and has been part of the Hurricanes squad assembled in Wellington, minus their All Blacks and New Zealand Maori players.
"I'll be looking to get back to running straight after the Christmas break and hopefully that gives me enough time to get up to speed and get enough fitness, so I could hopefully get in two pre-season games," he said.
His goal is to make the Hurricanes squad for the first match of the 2014 season against the Sharks in Durban on February 22.
Although he has yet to run he has already noticed some improvements.
"I've got a lot more range in my hips now, so that's got to be a positive, and I'll notice the rest once I do start running."
As well as the bike training, Marshall has been a regular on a pilates reformer machine on the recommendation of his Hurricanes trainer.
He is enjoying the regime, while he is also trying to keep his weight balanced, although keeping it on is more than a problem than keeping it off.
"Usually my biggest issue is turning into a rake," he joked.
- © Fairfax NZ News