MATT FARNES is set for his first game of rugby after more than two years out injured on Saturday.
The Worthing Raiders Rugby Club centre has been out since January, 2013, after suffering a knee injury when making a tackle in a 31-15 win over Chinnor.
He suffered a broken patella – shattering his left knee in five places – and initially feared he could be out for up to eight months. However, after problems with the NHS, that timescale got extended and Farnes ended up having another operation done privately, which cost him thousands.
The 27-year-old, who has played for Worthing since he was six, admitted there were several occasions when he did not know if he would play again but now cannot wait to run out on to the field again.
He is set to be part of Raiders’ A team squad for their home game with Barnes 2nd on Saturday and said: “It seems like it has been forever since I played. Having been out for more than two years, I can’t wait to play again.
“At first, the hope was to be back in eight months but that was before we realised the injury was more serious than it was first thought.
“There were a few problems and I ended up going private to have another operation done and I really need to thank my parents and grand-dad for helping me out.
“There were quite a few occasions when I didn’t think I’d play again. I still haven’t got the full range of movement in my knee but Jamie Redmayne recently told me that he doesn’t either in his knee and he’s been playing for the last few years like that.
“I’ve been playing rugby since I was six and I’m not quite finished. It’s about getting my confidence back.
“If selected, I’ll be running out for the A team on Saturday and, if I get another chance with the first team, I’ll be over the moon.”
Farnes has still been involved with the club during his injury, taking on the role of Raiders manager. He admits that he feels watching games will help him on his return and said: “I still think I can bring something to the team, if I can get back to how I was playing before the injury. I still think I can be an asset to the squad but my main goal is to just enjoy it.
“Watching games, I’ve seen what is right and wrong in certain plays and now I’ll try to apply that to my game.”
Farnes is running the London Marathon this year as that was a target he set himself, in case he could not play rugby again. He said: “I needed to have that target and something to aim for.
“I’m still going to do it for the RFU Injured Players Foundation and I hope to raise a lot of money.”
Farnes says several people have kept his spirits up and helped him to remain positive over the last two years: “I definitely couldn’t have got back without the support of my family and my girlfriend, who had to wash me while I could only sit there in a cast.
“The boys have been great as well. Matt McLean was out at the same time as me and got back playing at the end of last season after more than a year out. I know how hard he worked to get back and I’m over the moon for him as he’s one of my best mates. To see him come back and do so well has definitely helped me, so did seeing Matt Miles come back from his injuries as well.”
Although he is looking forward to returning, Farnes is still cautious and said: “I don’t know how long my knee has got left and my career could still be cut short one day.
“I’m just going to take each week as it comes, play for as long as I can and get back to what I love doing.”