Rugby: Simon's ready to make up for lost time at Edinburgh
Simon WEBSTER is preparing to relaunch his rugby career with Edinburgh in a season he feared he would never be a part of because of persistent injury.
Midway through last term and following surgery on Achilles tendon problems at a Swedish clinic, 37-times capped Scotland threequarter Webster, 30, headed to London for a medical consultation he was convinced would ring down the curtain on his playing days.
"For a while it was pretty dark and there were concerns about my career and if I even going to recover," says 'Webbo', adding: "There was a trip to London where I thought I was going to get the bad news and that was it. I prepared myself for that conversation.
"On getting there, I was told everything looked great and I probably left more in shock than anything else.
"There really was a time when I thought I was done."
Against that background, the only player to have started in each of Scotland's five World Cup games in 2007 finds it easy to be philosophical about missing out on the squad for New Zealand this time around.
He admitted: "I'll accept to be training and as fit as I have been in the last four years when set against missing a World Cup.
"I think Scotland will do well in New Zealmd given the level of performance I sometimes see being put in on the training pitch at Murrayfield."
The full extent of the traumas undergone by Webster are summed up in a demonstration of how he would get out of bed and set foot on a floor as though tip toeing on hot coals.
The nadir came in June 2010, as he tells for the first time, how concerned Murrayfield bosses sought out top treatment for their prize asset.
"I had to travel to the north of Sweden where I lay face down on the equivalent of a physio's table while an operation took place on my tendons under local anaesthetic.
"I couldn't feel any pain but the barbecue-type smell of my blood vessels being cauterised before the scalpel was wielded and my tendons scraped remains with me. Basically the tendons are like taut hairs; if you imagine these hairs then becoming clogged with bubblegum that is the best way to illustrate how much of a mess my ankles had become.
"I was told then it would take anything from three weeks to 13 months for me to be right.
"Bang on the 13 months, I realised I was fighting fit again although I also made a strange decision for a sportsman which was to take a three-week break from any training whatsoever during my summer holiday.
"Until that point, I'd fed off the advice of senior pros when I'd come to Edinburgh in 2002 including Craig Joiner and Derrick Lee which was that the best way to get fit was to stay fit."
Webster did manage 14 appearances for Edinburgh last season, including seven starts, but, by his own admission, wasn't firing in all cylinders.
"Since the 2007 World Cup, I have not really enjoyed rugby a huge amount. When you play well is when you enjoy the game. When I managed to get on the pitch, I wasn't in a position where I could play well. That is nobody's fault except mine because the medical back-up and support of guys like Andy Boyd at Edinburgh has been awesome. But when you play at this level and haven't done all the training it shows on the pitch.
"From a conditioning point of view, I was more of an amateur. It wasn't really working.
"Now I'm ready to really enjoy rugby in what will be the last year of my present contract.
"We have a lot of new young guys who I have been impressed with.
"It's hard for some of them coming out of school and club teams and reacting to daily training including four weight sessions a week.
"They have had a massive step up and I have been massively impressed.
"As a team, we have gone back to the drawing board, covering everything.
"I think Greig Laidlaw will do a great job as captain. He played a lot at stand off last season as well as scrum half and we are blessed with an awesome group of half backs.
"Greig is more of a lead from the front kind of player which I like. The pressure can't all be on Greig, though.
"A lot of guys have to show the youngsters how we go about it."
Webster remains Edinburgh's top try scorer in all domestic league matches but, with Tim Visser catching up fast, might we see a twin threat out wide?
"Visser has just been outstanding with his try scoring with numbers, absolutely brilliant," said Webster.
"Last season, I was disappointed with my performances but, after being out for so long, just being on the pitch was a triumph in itself.
"Now I want to see what I can do again without having had to hop out of bed and crawl around first trying to get myself going - or enter a rest day on Sunday thinking 'what do I need to ice to train on Monday?'."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west