By Art de Roche
World Cup winner Laura Keates is back in action with Valkyries after spending almost two years on the sidelines with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The England prop made her comeback for Valkyries Development XV against Wasps two weeks ago and had 20 minutes in the Tyrrells Premier 15s match against Harlequins Ladies last week.
“It was absolutely incredible, obviously I’ve been out for a long time but it’s great to be on the pitch in a Worcester shirt,” Keates said.
“I was a bit nervous about selection, there are some good girls that are here now. But it’s good to be back amongst the squad and fighting for a shirt too.
“The game is definitely a bit faster than two years ago but I think I managed to fit in well.”
Despite being unavailable to play for 19 months, Keates has attended Valkyries matches home and away to show her support which she felt helped with fitting back in.
“I really enjoyed travelling to games even when I wasn’t able to play,” Keates said.
“We’ve got a good bunch here. Obviously we rebuilt when the Tyrrells Premier 15s was formed so that was a good way to get to know the girls.
“That’s something you can only do when you’re around them. I didn’t want to just rock up to training as soon as I could and then play because that’s not what Worcester’s about.”
Keates also thanked those who helped her during her recovery to get back onto the pitch.
“I’m very lucky, I’ve had a massive amount of support through EIS, England Rugby, Birmingham Uni and Worcester. There’s been a lot of input from a lot of talented people who are experts in their field, so they’ve been a massive help,” she said.