Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Adds Up for Woods

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Adds Up for Woods

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

It's the time of the season when rugby fans become amateur mathematicians for the weekend as the group stages of the European Challenge Cup reach a conclusion.

When the final whistle blows at the Parc Municipal de Brive this afternoon, fans of the Newcastle Falcons ( and, if the result goes their way, Brive-Correze ( will be eagerly awaiting news from the other grounds and working out who their team will be facing in the quarter-finals.

For one player, however, the most important thing is simply being there.

In March 2004, openside flanker Ben Woods broke his leg playing for the club's A team against Northampton. Although he made his return in Tokyo in August, it was the most recent of his 10 first-team appearances this season which was perhaps the most significant for the former England Under-21 star and Cambridge Blue.

Woods collected the ball with his first touch against Border-Rievers last week and burst his way through a tackle to record his first senior try for the Falcons.

While the Barnsley-born player admits he has not come out of the horrific injury unscathed, he is nevertheless delighted just to be playing again.

"It's nice to have a game to look forward to every week," he says.

"I'm playing through a bit of pain because the metal pin is still in there, and it does ache a fair bit, but hopefully it might come out in the next year or so and we'll see a gradual improvement from there.

"It's left me with a bit of a limp, but as long as I can run, that's the main thing. Given there was a chance my career was finished, I'm just glad to have this second chance."

Having said that, there is no question of Woods going through the motions now. He is determined to continue improving his game and help his side secure a victory which could have huge benefits in the long-run. …

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