Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shortland Is Back in for Cup Opener; Kiwi Winger Ryan Returns to Face Lyon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shortland Is Back in for Cup Opener; Kiwi Winger Ryan Returns to Face Lyon

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

RYAN Shortland will return for Newcastle Falcons in tomorrow's Amlin Challenge Cup opener against Lyon. The French club visit Kingston Park in the first of six European pool encounters, with Shortland delighted to be back in the fold after a month out through injury. The Kiwi winger was helped from the field during the 25-5 loss at Aviva Premiership Saracens on October 9 with what appeared at the time to be a straightforward concussion.

Shortland revealed: "It has been a very frustrating time because I was just starting to find my feet when I got knocked out.

"The concussion wasn't so bad in the grand scheme of things and would only have kept me out for a week or so, but in the course of being knocked out I got my leg caught and strained the medial ligaments in my right knee.

"I can't remember a thing about what happened, and when I came-to I actually thought I was in a different stadium to where I really was.

"I have seen it back on the video and it is like watching someone else, but thankfully I am back now and ready to go again."

The 25-year-old was among the Falcons' summer signings after joining from New Zealand province Otago, via a brief spell at New South Wales Waratahs in Australia. Referring to last weekend's 16-16 draw with relegation rivals Worcester, he said: "I do get frustrated watching the games, like most players when they are injured, but the boys are working hard to pull it all together.

"There were a lot of positive parts to the game even though we were disappointed not to come away with the win, but hopefully tomorrow we can bring the brand of football that we want to play."

Head coach Alan Tait is expected to name a strong team when he shows his hand this afternoon, with fly-half Jimmy Gopperth among the few stars rested from an otherwise familiar line-up. …

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