Matt Hawkins is so used to playing with pain, he feels almost weird playing without it.
But that’s what the USA 7s team forward will be able to do next weekend at the Australia 7s in Gold Coast, Queensland.
“The last half of last season I was really banged up and sore,” Hawkins told RUGBYMag.com. “My main focus since then has been to get back from my surgeries. I had two surgeries and they’ve relieved a lot and I am feeling 100 times better.”
He knew he had to get fit, too, to make the team.
“I wouldn’t have come to camp if I wasn’t confident I could play,” he said. “It’s just been nice to get back and feel fresh again. I feel like I can do pretty much everything I’ve been able to do before. It just doesn’t hurt as much.”
The team Hawkins rejoins is not an unfamiliar one. Only Folau Niua among the 12 going to Australia is a player he’s unfamiliar with.
“I haven’t played with Folau, but I’ve seen him several times and I know the skills he brings to the table,” Hawkins said. “It’s exciting to be on the team with him and it’s exciting to be starting the World Series again. Overall we have a great team. It’s good to see Mike [Palefau] and Nick [Edwards], who is a real good friend of mine, on the team. They bring a wealth of experience and are great players.”