Rees targets return against Ulster
October 11, 2011
Wales hooker Matthew Rees has pinpointed the Ulster clash in the Rabo Direct PRO12 for his playing return after a neck injury © Getty Images
Wales hooker Matthew Rees is targeting the Scarlets' October 29 RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Ulster for his playing return after recovering from injury.
Hooker Rees had been due to lead Wales into the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, but a painful neck injury required surgery, ruled him out of the tournament.
With the British & Irish Lion hooker recovering back in Wales, openside Sam Warburton - Wales' second-youngest captain - has led the side with aplomb to the World Cup semi-finals. Watching from the sidelines as Wales progress to the penultimate knockout stage of the tournament, Rees has looked to focus on his recovery rather than thinking about what might have been.
"I'm feeling really good at the moment," he said. "It was great to get the operation done and dusted and it feels good to be on the road to recovery.
"Of course it was a very difficult decision to have the operation. Being captain and ruling myself out of the World Cup was a huge decision but health comes first and in the end I couldn't bear the pain any more. We did everything we could to get me there but the operation was the only option in the end."
The Scarlets begin their Heineken Cup campaign with a clash against Castres Olympique on November 12, and Rees is hopeful of being able to lead his side out for the game at Parc y Scarlets.
"Training has been going well and I have been stepping up from bike work into running and contact sessions and obviously I have been doing a lot of strength rehab work on the neck," said the 30-year-old. "The start of the Heineken Cup is something I have been targeting and hopefully I can get back playing at the end of October so I am ready to go for Europe."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin