New Chiefs wing Patrick Osborne admits the pre-Christmas training with his new team was a shock to the system and left him aching all over.
"That first week I had sore legs and just an aching body," Osborne said of the two-week training camp that was his introduction to the Chiefs.
"But the second week it sort of calmed down and I just rolled through it, but to start with the body was in shock."
It is not surprising the big, fast, strapping Fijian wing, who is 1.86 metres tall and weighs in at 105 kilograms, found the going tough after a year of minimal top-level rugby.
Selected for the Crusaders for the first time, he never got on the field despite some stints on the bench and spent most of his time training and playing club rugby.
Then he broke his collarbone two games into the ITM Cup for Canterbury and was ruled out of the rest of the season when it required surgery.
"Pretty much my return to hard training was that week I came up here," Osborne said.
At the end of the pre-Christmas training phase, Osborne realised he would have to keep up the work through his Christmas/New Year break if he didn't want to fall behind and go through all the agony again when team training resumed on January 7.
"I didn't want to get a shock again like that first week of pre-season before Christmas, so I concentrated on my gym sessions because of the surgery I had on my broken collarbone."
Having also injured his other shoulder in 2011, he has worked hard on strengthening both to take the tackling load he will be required to carry.
"I like to put 100 per cent into my tackles."
Osborne is determined to get some game time for the Chiefs but he has learnt from his Crusaders' experience not to get down if it doesn't happen.
"You bounce back from that kind of stuff but it was my first year in Super 15 and I had that mindset of if I didn't play I was letting myself down - I was getting depressed and questioning my abilities.
"But it makes you stronger.
"You know what to expect, and just work harder and get better."
He knows his chances of game time probably rest on his performances in the pre-season trial matches where he has to make his mark.
"The trial games are probably the hardest games because everyone's trying to get in there.
"As soon as the season starts, the tempo goes down a little because people have cemented their spots."
Osborne, who is a fast, strong runner and confident defender, sees his height and strength as major points of difference to the other wings in the squad and is more than happy to mix it with the forwards in taking the ball forward in the close-quarter stuff.
"I'm a different wing to most of the other boys, who are more elusive and nippy on their feet," he said.
"I love the contact more."
- Waikato Times
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