Prop leaves casualty ward to tackle Reds
In sickness and in health - recently wed Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and wife Margaret have done the age-old wedding vows proud in recent weeks.
In the space of five days the husband and wife suffered a concussion and a broken ankle respectively.
The drama started when Toomaga-Allen took the ball into a ruck during the Hurricanes' final pre-season match at Mangatainoka on February 16 and escalated in unexpected fashion last week.
"I had to rest and take it easy, that was pretty hard. I wasn't allowed to do anything," he said yesterday of his recovery.
"Midweek last week, I was feeling all right and they said I could start taking it a bit easier [with the recovery] but then my wife broke her ankle on the Wednesday . . . she slipped doing the washing. I‘d like to give you a better story but that's what happened."
Toomaga-Allen is an instantly likeable character who is rarely without a broad smile on his face.
He was a happy camper as the team left for Brisbane yesterday after being named to start at tighthead prop against the Reds tomorrow night but there was a more serious side to his week on the sidelines.
"I don't remember what happened and I've never been concussed before, so it was pretty bad," he said of his head knock against the Chiefs. "I remember the match and what happened looking at the video. I remember I was going into a ruck then coming out and a scrum was being set.
"All I could hear was: Jeff go down, go down, take a knee. I was like: nah, I've got a scrum. Next thing I'm in the changing rooms."
Toomaga-Allen's headaches and "pressure in his head" settled down in the two days after the game but not enough to consider playing against the Blues in the first match of the season.
Watching the 34-20 loss has left him champing at the bit to get back on the field.
"You get itchy feet when you are sitting on the sideline, so I'm pretty happy to be back in the team," he said. "In terms of this week and what I want to bring, just some physicality, fight for my position and go hard.
"I'm excited for this game, it's my first game, new season.
"I just want to go hard, earn, earn, earn my keep."
Toomaga-Allen has an infectious energy and enthusiasm for rugby and his return is sure to add some spark to the Hurricanes in Brisbane.
He has noted the Reds potentially have an all-Wallabies front row in props James Slipper and Greg Holmes and hooker Saia Faingaa. "Strong team, strong pack. All Aussie front row.
"I'm looking forward to that; that's going to be mean.
"I'm just looking forward to that first scrum," Toomaga-Allen said before smiling at the suggestion the Reds had strong ball runners.
"That's good for me, that works for me because I like to tackle."
He said it wasn't difficult to pinpoint the area that most needed to improve from the Blues match.
"Everyone picked up on the accuracy and skill, and that needs to be cleaned up," he said.
"If we were more accurate, we could have had more possession and scored a few more points.
"That's the onus on the individual, on everyone to take it upon themselves to be better."
The Dominion Post