Latham praises Mooney's Reds revival - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Latham praises Mooney's Reds revival

By Jim Morton 03/04/2009 07:10:52 PM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies fullback Chris Latham has praised Queensland coach Phil Mooney for rebuilding the Reds after returning home early from an injury-riddled English stint.

Latham, a Queensland crowd favourite over 12 seasons, has seen plenty of false dawns at Ballymore but sternly believes the Super 14's battling entertainers are on the right track.

The 78-Test fullback is back in Brisbane to spend time with family and friends after his debut season in a three-year deal with Worcester was cut short by injury.

Latham will finalise his recovery and rehabilitation from a shoulder dislocation and shattered scapula with the help of the Reds support staff.

It was one of two "freakish" injuries the 33-year-old sustained playing in the United Kingdom, where he played 20 matches and scored eight tries, including a hat-trick in his first European Challenge Cup clash.

The first came at the start of the season when he collided with a pole in a tackle which finished outside the field of play.

Latham, who played the last of his 119 Reds games in 2008, is looking forward to watching his old team attempt to finish a season with more wins than losses for the first time since 2002.

"They're obviously playing a good style of rugby and their endeavour is to have a go and not die wondering," he said.

"I think that's a very positive way to go and Phil has done a fantastic job of turning things around and starting to install some belief in a lot of the young guys coming through."

The veteran fullback believes he can play beyond 35 after the end of his current Warriors contract but ruled out an Australian swansong.

"I'm enjoying my time there and I don't feel my body slowing up at all," he said. "It's been an awesome experience and something that has improved my overall knowledge in rugby.

"My family have enjoyed the city, the warm welcome we have received from all the fans and I'm very much looking forward to getting back and getting stuck into next season."

Worcester had no problems granting Latham his wish to spend his off-season in Brisbane, unlike All Blacks superstar Dan Carter who preferred to stay in Perpignan to recuperate from a ruptured Achilles tendon.

"Chris has been fantastic for us this season and has endeared himself to the fans and to us as coaches and players," said Worcester director of rugby Mike Ruddock.

"We've an open line of communication with Queensland Reds medical team and conditioners and obviously we'll be in constant contact with the support staff who are facilitating Chris returning from injury."

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