Huxley makes solid return to rugby union - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Huxley makes solid return to rugby union

By Adrian Warren 15/03/2010 10:04:53 AM Comments (0)

Julian Huxley expressed a desire to regain his Brumbies and Wallabies positions after making an accomplished return to rugby on Sunday, two years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Huxley, 30, set up three tries and ran, passed and kicked with assurance in the Brumby Runners' 36-16 win over the Junior Waratahs at Knox Grammar School in Sydney's northern suburbs.

Playing at fullback, Huxley completed an entire 80 minute game, his first since he was diagnosed with the tumour after undergoing a routine check following a head knock he suffered while playing for the Brumbies against the Reds in March 2008.

Huxley, who played nine Tests for Australia in 2007, had the tumour removed and underwent six weeks of radiation and six months of chemotherapy, but kept training throughout that period.

He received the final clearance to resume playing on Saturday morning when he signed documents at the home of Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan.

"I've been training very hard and it's not something I woke up two weeks and said `I want to play footy'," Huxley told reporters after the game.

"I've been in good shape, if I say so myself, for a good six months now and even a year ago I had a tilt at trying to play and we couldn't get out there.

"But I've been fit and never let my fitness drop to a point where it was too hard to get back.

"I felt able to compete out there in the hard stuff and I was maybe a bit tentative at times.

"I was happy with my skills and vision .... I don't think that stuff really leaves you, it's just the timing on your hits and that sort of stuff."

Huxley, who hoped his experiences would help youngsters with similar health issues, said he felt no nerves on his comeback and just tried to play on auto pilot.

Fagan admitted to a little nervousness when Huxley fell to the ground from what the player described as "a bit of a late shot", but stressed the fullback had taken harder knocks at training.

Huxley was also on the receiving end of a big bump from huge Waratahs' winger Nemani Nadolo.

Huxley was adamant it was safe for him to return to rugby and emphasised he wouldn't have resumed playing if he didn't feel he could be at least as good, if not better, than in the past.

Asked if that meant he had aspirations to again represent Australia, Huxley responded: "I may as well admit it, of course.

"Whether that happens or not, I'm comfortable with the fact that I'm giving it a go and that's all you can do in life.

"Whether the game has moved on, it might have, but I think I can be a better player just because of how much more relaxed a person I am."

Huxley said his next game would be for their Academy side against a Canberra club outfit next week.

"Seeing him out here today was really quite surreal, it looked like he hadn't been two weeks out of the game let alone two years out of the game, it reminded us why two years ago he was the Wallaby fullback," Fagan said.

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