Hutchinson 'feeling a million dollars' as he gets set for Saints return

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Rory Hutchinson says he's 'feeling a million dollars' as he gets set for a welcome return to action this weekend.

The skillful centre has not played since the defeat at Bristol Bears on March 22 due to a problematic back injury.

That has meant he has missed Investec Champions Cup knockout clashes with Munster, Vodacom Bulls and Leinster as well as some huge Gallagher Premiership matches.

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But with one game of the regular season to play, at Bath on Saturday, Hutchinson is now ready and raring to go.

Rory Hutchinson (photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)Rory Hutchinson (photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Rory Hutchinson (photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

"I've spent a fair chunk of this half of the season on the sidelines unfortunately," Hutchinson said.

"I picked up a back injury when I was away at (Scotland) camp but I just about managed to get through it.

"Then when I came back, I played half of that first game against Bristol just not in the right condition and it's just got a lot worse.

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"Unfortunately, I've been on a bit of a roller coaster, getting fit and then not getting fit so in the end I went to see a specialist and got an injection in my back a few weeks ago.

"So yeah, I'm feeling a million dollars now."

So is the injection a short-term solution to get him through the rest of the season or something he hopes will solve the problem for good?

"I had an epidural six or seven years ago and that seemed to work up until now," he said.

"It's just unfortunate that it came again, but I feel good now, I'm moving much better, the medical team have been brilliant and my rehab has been good.

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"It's been frustrating to watch from the sidelines but the boys are going well at the moment so it's good to watch.

"They've put us in a really good spot in this part of the season."

With Saints having been involved in so many exciting battles in recent weeks, you can imagine how frustrating it has been for Hutchinson to have missed out.

And he said: "I'm not going to lie, it has been difficult not being involved, but it's part of the job - these things happen.

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"You can sulk about it or you can just get on with it, and that's what I like to think I've done.

"I could have missed the rest of the season but I'm back fit now so let's just see what happens."

Hutchinson has been ramping up his workload and is now at the point where he is ready to play again.

"I've done gym and stuff, been out on the training paddock for two weeks now," he explained.

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"You do miss a lot when you're not out there with the boys because a lot goes on.

"It's good to be back.

"I obviously missed the away trips, Twickenham and Croke Park, managed to watch all the build-up for the last 16 and quarter-final here.

"I feel like I've missed a lot of rugby.

"I didn't think it was right for me to travel to away games with my back but I'm back fit now and that's the most important thing."

Saints have already secured a home play-off semi-final in the Gallagher Premiership, but they know a victory at Bath this weekend would mean they end the regular season top of the table.

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Bath have even more to play for as they know they need to win to give themselves a realistic chance of finishing in the top two.

"They've still got a bit to play for and we want to leave ourselves in the best position possible," Hutchinson said.

"Top spot isn't confirmed so we've still got points to play for, but we want to put ourselves in the best position going into the semi-finals.

"We're looking forward to the opportunity this weekend and we know what Bath bring.

"It will be a good end to the regular season."

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Hutchinson is a man who always seems to play with freedom as he pulls the strings for Saints.

But he insists the game plan won't be any different this weekend just because his side have already made sure of that home semi-final.

"The nice thing about what has happened this season for us is that nothing changes - we just do us, and if that's playing an expansive game of rugby, that's what we do," he said.

"The game last weekend was a good example of us doing what we do best and I don't see why that would change this week."

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