Gloucester Rugby will give Jake Polledri the opportunity to play his way back into the side providing the Italian international ticks all the boxes on his way to a full recovery from a horror knee injury.
While some worried fans have written off his chances of a return, that is certainly not the feeling at the club’s Kingsholm training base despite the fact Polledri has not played a game of rugby since the Autumn of 2020 when the explosive number eight suffered a horrible knee injury after a slip while playing for Italy against Scotland in his 19th international appearance for the Azzuri.
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The 26-year-old suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament. He also suffered a fractured leg, torn calf and ruptured a hamstring off the bone, but it has been nerve damage to his leg and foot which he has taken the longest time to recover.
With South African Ruan Ackermann having come off the back of arguably his best season for the Cherry and Whites, picking up the Players’ Player of the Season and Fans’ Player of the Season accolades at the club’s end of season awards, plus former England international Ben Morgan back from injury and impressing, and Fijian international Albert Tuisue arriving this summer, Gloucester looked heavily stocked with top-end talent in the number eight position, however, head coach George Skivington insists the door is very much open for Polledri to return.
Ackermann and Polledri have both played plenty of rugby as blindside flankers while Skivington has made it clear he considers Tuisue as an option in the second row as well, meaning at least three of the four number eight contenders could conceivably be on the pitch at the same time in a heavy duty pack.
Earlier in the year, Polleri spoke about targeting a playing return at the end of the 2021/22 season, but that timeline proved to be unrealistic.
Gloucester’s medical staff will now target getting him ready for the start of the new campaign.
Discussing Polledri’s potential return, Skivington said: “It would be amazing.
“Jake is on a good trajectory, it would be amazing to have him back.
“We all want to see Jake playing the rugby he was pre-injury and we have all got our fingers crossed he will continue on the route he is.
“Jake is still at the early stages of coming back. He has started training but when you have an injury like that there is a lot of uncertainty.
“We would all love him to be in a Gloucester jersey playing the way he was before his injury, so fingers crossed.”
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