Josh Beaumont Column: You start to understand how much you miss playing the game

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In his latest column for Talking Rugby Union, Josh Beaumont reflects on his unfortunate long-term injury, Sale’s Premiership & Champions Cup form + he looks at Exeter’s visit to the AJ Bell as well as two teams close to his heart…

Injury curse strikes again…

I had an operation on my knee two and a half weeks ago after the injury against Wasps and I haven’t really been able to use my knee.

It has been a really slow process. Hopefully going into the New Year, I will be able to walk around on it. I am still on crutches for the foreseeable future. It is tough.

Every injury is different and this one is a slow process so hopefully we can look at getting back at the end of the season, but we will just see how it recovers. You have got to work towards something and set goals! It is a six-month injury so we just have to see how everything goes.

I was just hitting a bit of form so especially when you get an injury early on in the season, it is frustrating because it is not like towards the end of the year when you’ve got the off season which you can use towards recovery and that time to get back.

You are just taking chunks out of your time and it is harder the older you get. I have had quite a few serious injuries and this is definitely the hardest one to take because the older you get, you start to understand how much you miss playing the game as well as your daily routines and being out with the lads. It is challenging, but the amount of support out there for injured players is unbelievable through the RPA and the club so that has been really helpful.

‘We are not reaching anywhere near our potential yet’

There is more media attention around us this year with us being in the Champions Cup. I was really looking forward to playing in the competition. We have had a few disappointing results recently and that is more the case now because I want to be out there helping the lads, but I am stood helpless on the sidelines so it is a bit disappointing. It will get easier and hopefully we will start to really show what we can do at Sale. We are not reaching anywhere near our potential yet so it is obviously frustrating at the moment, but we will put it right.

 The red-card against Worcester last week made a massive difference. I think if we didn’t get that red-card, I think we would have gone on to win the game. That is no disrespect to Worcester, it’s just one of those games where we were really up for it and we probably would’ve grinded a result out. Obviously, it is difficult to say that but playing 50 minutes of the game with 14-men is always going to be tough.

You can see how competitive it is by looking at the bottom of the table. Leicester and Wasps and Saracens are down there and I know Sarries did win at the weekend, but it shows the competitiveness of the league. For us, we probably haven’t picked up the results we really should’ve won, but we are still in the mix so if we can play slightly better and play to our potential, we can really maintain that top four push.

Exeter are coming to town

We are still in mix in Europe too so the focus is on winning this weekend otherwise it is going to be tough to qualify. It is a big game on Sunday against Exeter. There is a slightly different pressure on the Champions Cup because you can afford to express yourselves a bit more and there isn’t as much pressure on points when you are in the competitiveness of the Premiership. We are targeting two good results in the next two weeks against Exeter and then that will lead into the big games over the Christmas period in the Premiership.

In terms of preparation, La Rochelle are always going to be a surprise because you don’t know what team is going to turn up on the day! With Glasgow, they are a team that you can’t draw on experience of playing them, but Exeter are a team we have obviously played a lot over the last few seasons. We have always done well against them and always been very competitive so hopefully that will be the case again, although they are on a very good run at the moment. They have always struggled to come up to the AJ Bell Stadium so we will see on Sunday.

Durham and Fylde flying high

Both are going well! It was disappointing to see Durham lose to Loughborough a couple of weeks ago, but they managed to bounce back. They are obviously top of the league and still building points and hopefully they can get a home quarter-final which makes a massive difference when it comes to the knockouts.

Fylde are also going well. They did lose to Hull at home a couple of weeks ago, but they are still there so now I might be able to watch a few of their games over the next few months so it will be nice to go back there!

Josh Beaumont was speaking to TRU's Chris Heal

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