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Blaze back in action as Tigers take another step

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Richard Blaze has paid tribute to his Tigers team-mates and the club's backroom staff who have helped him through his nine-month injury lay-off.

The England Saxons lock is set to make his return from a foot injury when Tigers complete their pre-season training camp in France with a game against Castres tomorrow night.

Tigers play the French side in their final game in the Vaquerin Challenge in Camares (6.30pm local time) and Blaze has been named in the second row. 

He says team-mates such as Lewis Moody and Harry Ellis, who have also come through lengthy lay-offs, as well as the Tigers and England staff, have helped him on the road to recovery. 

Blaze said: “Psychologically, it has been quite draining at times. The club have been really good with me and said they didn’t want to rush me. All the rehab stuff, the conditioners and coaches have been great with me. 

“England were really good as well. They said to make sure I got it right because if I came back too early and it went, it could be career threatening. 

“I found it hard to watch games at first then after a while you get used to it. 

“It is harder when you are getting back in training and then you are watching games because you are nearer the point. 

“I spoke to other people like Lewis and Harry, who have been through long injuries themselves, and talked about how they coped with it. 

“Harry was saying that when he did his knee he was in some dark places and he has helped me mentally through it.”

Blaze has been out of action since the Guinness Premiership game against Bath at the Recreation Ground in November. 

Tomorrow night’s game will be Tigers’ second of the summer as they build towards the start of the season next month and Blaze cannot wait to get back into action. 

He said: “I just can’t wait to be on the field and earning the respect of my team-mates.”