Rugby: Buckman happy to be anywhere on the field

Highlanders back Richard Buckman trains at the University Oval yesterday. Photo by Gregor...
Highlanders back Richard Buckman trains at the University Oval yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Good job, this professional sporting lark.

Well paid, doing something you love, hanging with your mates.

But with all the highs, there are still lows.

Highlanders back Richard Buckman has just been through one of those.

Injury, through a dodgy knee, has had him on the sideline rather than the paddock. He played his first full game in more than six months last week, against the Brumbies, and is itching for more.

''It was great to be back out there and playing out there,'' he said.

''I did my medial for Hawkes Bay last year [October] and did a grade two tear. Then in pre season I did a grade three. That was the same injury only a bit worse. But hopefully it is all back on track now,'' Buckman said.

''I just got right for the pre season games and then it happened again. Not being able to play for 20 odd weeks can be pretty frustrating. I guess I just had to bide my time and hopefully I am right now.

''I got sick of watching but, in saying that, the boys did well and it good to watch them winning and that. It wasn't too hard when the boys were winning.

''But I feel fully fit now. My body is back to full strength and the trainer got back into me. There is always a way they find to get you back into the gym.''

Buckman admitted he was fatigued at the end of the game against the Brumbies, where he was one of the better players for the Highlanders.

He played centre last Friday night and said he enjoyed the role.

''It was all right but our first half let us down and we could not get into the match. The positive was from our second half we fought back well and held them scoreless. We can build on that into this Friday's match.''

Buckman (25) was one of the Highlanders' best last year for the side, starring on the right wing for the side.

He appears to have lost his place to Waisake Naholo this season but Buckman will be an asset for the side no matter where he plays.

''I don't mind where I play as long as I am playing. It has been a frustrating time not playing so I am happy to play in any position as long as I am out on the field.''

He had played everywhere in the backline except halfback and may get a run against the Sharks tomorrow night as players are rested and rotated.

Buckman shapes as a key man for the Highlanders in the next few weeks, starting with the South Africans at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

''They're a pretty physical team, from what we've seen. They will look at our last game and attack with the rolling maul. But if we stick to our game plan and keep them away from lineouts and penalties and get it out the back, then we should be right.''

Buckman, who will be back at the Highlanders next year, having just signed a new deal, admitted the key part of the season was about to hit.

''The boys have done the job in the first half of the season and we just have to bring on the second half of the season. Just keep on bringing those performances together.''

The Highlanders will name their team to play the Sharks today.

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