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Crane crowns comeback with two tries

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Jordan Crane scored two tries in the opening pre-season fixture of the summer at Jersey on Saturday but admitted to feeling nervous before his first match in more than a year.

The back-rower returned from knee surgery for his first appearance in Tigers colours since the 2011 Aviva Premiership Final and played 50 minutes of his comeback match in the Channel Islands.

Tigers won 34-21 against Championship opposition, with Crane opening the scoring after just five minutes and then adding his second shortly before half-time.

“It was good to be back,” he said. “It’s been a long, long time. It just felt great to be on the pitch and carrying the ball again.

“Every week the knee has been getting better and better, and I knew I was ready for today but I still felt a bit nervous before the game.

“It has been a lot of hard work, but it wasn’t just down to me - Alex Martin, Julie Hayton and Dave Orton at the club have been massive for me. They kept me going.

“It is tough mentally sometimes but you have to stick to the plan. Any recovery period has its lows and its highs, and it’s those guys who keep you on the right track.

“The goal was always to be ready for the start of the pre-season but I’ve been dipping in and out of training so it was only last week that I thought I was really ready for this.

“I’ve had some pretty tough sessions in training over the last month or two and come through them so I felt pretty confident I could come through the first game. The way we train, I didn’t think I had too much to worry about.

“I think the first thing I did was score the first try, I hadn’t touched the ball till then. The two tries came from an average of about five metres!

“I was ready to come off after 50 minutes but the knee feels great.”