Horwill's Reds hit the ground running
Horwill's Reds hit the ground runningSHARE
Captain James Horwill returned to training with the Reds this week, as the team continues to prepare for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Horwill was one of several Reds players who toured with the Wallabies in Europe in November – including scrumhalf Will Genia and mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper.
Despite opting for a treatment session with the Reds physio, rather than sweating it out with his teammates on Tuesday, Horwill said he was ready to hit the ground running.
The 28-year-old, despite losing the Wallaby captaincy, feels the reds can benefit from the form the Wallabies showed on their year-end tour – four straight wins in Europe.
Horwill says he's ready to carry that form over to the Super Rugby stage for the Reds, in stark contrast to last year when he didn't take to the field until March following an almost-year long lay-off due to a torn hamstring.
"It's good to be back, it's been nice and warm for the first couple of days and it's great to be back with the boys and training again," Horwill said.
"It's always nice to hit the ground running and be able to get straight back into pre-season – that I wasn't able to do [last year].
"I obviously hadn't played for 10 or 11 months at this stage last year so you just lose that timing and so forth. It's been good to have a break where I didn't have any injury cloud over my head.
"I'm really keen to get stuck into it now."
New head coach Richard Graham expressed just how important the next five weeks of training will be for the Reds, as they prepare for their first trial match against the Chiefs in Toowoomba on February 8.
"The boys have had a good break and have come back physically and mentally refreshed," Graham said.
"We've got five weeks before our first trial and this block will be very important to us and will go by quickly.
"I've certainly enjoyed the intensity and enthusiasm of the boys so far and they've come back in a really good space."
Horwill said the way Australia ended their year can transfer across into the Reds camp.
"Guys can take confidence in the form. We had a number of guys that were on that tour that were playing some great rugby at the end of that tour," he said.
"That's the positive we can take, the guys that are coming back were playing good rugby a month ago and I know speaking to all of them we've had some good time off … that sort of confidence in the way we're playing is good.
"I've been really pleased with the enthusiasm of the guys, seeing how well the group is getting along and how excited and positive they all are is really pleasing. Everything's looking very good at this stage."