Gerrard fit & ready for Super 14

Mark Gerrard is using the embarrassment of having Wallabies selectors send him home from a training camp this time last year as motivation for a successful Super 14 pre-season.

Twelve months ago this week John Connolly sent a number of Wallabies home for lacking fitness. The list at the time included Gerrard & NSW Waratahs trio Lote Tuqiri, Morgan Turinui and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Gerrard says that the incident was one of the worst days of his eight-year professional career and one that has played on his mind since.

Gerrard who is still only 25 says those undisciplined days are behind him.

“It probably should have dragged me down at the time and while it did initially, I had to ignore it and push on with getting myself back to full fitness,” Gerrard told the Canberra Times.

“In saying that, it was still one of the lowest points of my career. “You can imagine the wrath I copped when I got back.

“It was a definite low-point for me and I’m determined to never let it happen again.

“How’s the fitness now on the first day back? I was sure to be careful over the Christmas period, I didn’t have any pudding anyway, so it’s a lot better than this time last year when I got into trouble, put it that way.”

Gerrard played two minutes for Australia before injuring his left knee against Japan in September and this year he has had his first full pre-season with the Brumbies in five years and he is hoping that complete pre-season would lead to an injury-free Super 14 with the Brumbies.

“Most critics would probably say I’m getting slower but I’d beg to differ,” Gerrard said. “As professional rugby players, we’ve got to stay on top of things and manage our fitness and I’m satisfied with how I’m travelling.”

Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher said Gerrard’s fitness was more than suitable, “Mark certainly had a great pre-Christmas pre-season, has returned very fit, is back under 100kg and looks ready to fire, so I don’t think he’s slowing down at all,” Fisher said.

“He looks great and I’m looking forward to an injury-free period for him.”

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