Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

James in Moment of In-Convenience; Fitzpatrick's Falcons Return Almost Went Down Pan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

James in Moment of In-Convenience; Fitzpatrick's Falcons Return Almost Went Down Pan

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Smith

JAMES Fitzpatrick has revealed how a call of nature almost prevented him from making his Newcastle Falcons' comeback. The 24-year-old had been out for two months after undergoing groin surgery and was due to ease his way back with a 20-minute cameo against French visitors Lyon in Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup opener. That was until starting centre Corne Uys limped out just 15 minutes into the 27-19 home victory, leaving Fitzpatrick with the prospect of an extended run.

The South Shields native, who is in his second season at the Falcons after impressing for Westoe and Blaydon, said: "I did not see Corne go down, to be totally honest, because I was in the changing room toilet when it happened.

"I told the bench I was going to be back in two minutes, but our conditioning coach Kevin McShane came running in to tell me Corne had injured his hamstring and I had to get warmed up straightaway. "I jumped on to the spinning bike to get my body ready, and when they asked if I was OK to go on I said 'of course I am'.

"The way it worked out was good for me, because I did not have any time to worry or think about it.

"Before I knew it I was out on the pitch and it was great to be back."

The number of minutes may have been longer than anticipated, but the end result went to script as Fitzpatrick picked up exactly where he had left off.

Coming into the best form of his fledgling professional career with a try at Exeter on September 10 and a full 80 minutes against Leicester the following week, the timing of his injury was the hardest thing to bear.

He added: "It all started last year when I had a bit of a groin strain.

"I stuck with it and the pain eventually disappeared on that side, but then during the game at Exeter I started getting problems with the other side. …

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