Fit-again Plymouth Albion forward Herbie Stupple is keen to make up for lost time
PLYMOUTH Albion back-row forward Herbie Stupple is looking to make up for lost time after returning from four months out of the game with a broken shoulder.
Stupple made his return last Friday night when he came on as a late replacement against Munster A at Temple Hill in the British & Irish Cup.
That was his first taste of competitive rugby action since suffering the injury against the Cornish Pirates on September 9.
"It was always the plan for me to get 10 minutes to slowly get me back into the swing of things," said Stupple.
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"But I think I actually had 12 minutes against Munster."
He added: "Everything is fine now. I was a little bit nervous before I went into the game, but the physios told me nothing would happen and I trusted them."
Stupple has returned earlier than expected.
When the extent of his injury was first revealed he was told he would miss virtually the whole season.
He said: "At the time I was told I would not be playing for seven months, so to be back after four months is a massive boost for me.
"It is also good for me that the Leeds game is to be replayed as that is another game for me to possibly play in.
"I think I have got 11 games left to play, so I am happy about that."
Stupple, who was voted as Albion's young player of the year last season, admitted suffering the injury in only the club's second match of the season was a big blow for him.
He said: "I felt I was going to have a massive year.
"I'd had the best pre-season ever and I was the fittest I'd ever felt, so it was a bit gutting."
Stupple needed a five-and-a-half hour operation to repair the damage.
"It was quite a big operation," he said. "I had a fracture in my socket and a partial dislocation.
"But as a professional rugby player I was able to heal to quicker than an average person."
The esteem in which Albion hold Stupple was shown in the fact that the club offered him a new two-year contract, despite the fact that he had suffered such a bad injury and was out for so long.
"It was definitely nice to be offered it (a new contract) straight away," said the 22-year-old former Exeter Chiefs player.
"This is the happiest I have ever been at a club and I don't want to change anything at the moment."
However, Stupple would no doubt like to help Albion to a few more wins.
The club have only won once in the Championship since the end of the September.
This Saturday they face a vital home match against Moseley at Brickfields.
If Albion lose to the Birmingham-based club then they would be dragged into a relegation battle.
A win, though, would keep them away from the bottom four.
Stupple would love to be involved in this weekend's match, but he knows it will not be easy just to reclaim his spot in Albion's back-row.
"I am hoping to be involved after last week," said Stupple.
"But I don't know what the coaches think.
"I'd like to think I've done enough but I'll have to wait and see."
He added: "I do want to get my shirt back, but it is not going to happen as easy as that."
CANADIAN captain Aaron Carpenter expects to be fit for this weekend's match with Moseley.
Albion's number eight had to go off against Munster last Friday with a slight hamstring problem.
Carpenter said: "It is feeling a lot better. Hopefully I'll be right for the weekend."
LEEDS have yet to confirm whether they are to appeal the RFU decision to order a replay with their game against Albion, which went to uncontested scrums after just 15 minutes.
It is believed the West Yorkshire club, who won the original fixture 34-16, have until this week to do so.
If they do appeal then the game is unlikely to take place on the weekend of February 1-3.
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