The 2015-16 season has, by his own admission, been one to forget for James Hudson but the lock admits it is pivotal for his Gloucester Rugby teammates to end the year with some momentum.
Hudson will not play a single game in the campaign after suffering a serious knee injury in the 41-38 West Country Challenge Cup pre-season defeat to Exeter Chiefs last September that has failed to heal.
Despite the 34-year-old’s omission, Gloucester were pulling up some serious trees in both Europe and Aviva Premiership Rugby, culminating with a 13-10 victory over high-flying Wasps at the start of March.
That Wasps win was their fourth league triumph in five games but since that day the Cherry & Whites lost four Aviva Premiership games in a row, as well as dramatically exiting the European Challenge Cup at the hands of Newport Gwent Dragons last weekend – although Friday's win over west country rivals Exeter Chiefs will have given the Kingsholm faithful something to cheer about.
But although they have little to play for in their remaining matches, Hudson, who was at Abbeymead Primary School this week to take part in an Aviva Tackling Numbers session, claims it is vital that the club take some momentum into next year.
“Up until five weeks ago it had been really good but unfortunately we’ve dropped off badly over the last five weeks which has seen us end up where we are,” said Hudson, who was speaking ahead of Gloucester Rugby’s Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter.
“We’re desperate to end the year on a high, especially at home where we’ve got two big games before the end of the season.
“You can’t underestimate how important it is to finish the year well when you’ve had a bad patch.
“There is some momentum going into next season because if the last time you were on the field, you had a bad run of games, it will be remembered come September.
“We need to make sure the last few weeks are a reflection of what we’re capable of rather than the last couple of weeks have been.”
Aviva Tackling Numbers is an innovative programme for 7-9 year olds which makes learning about numbers and financial education fun and engaging.
The programme is delivered by Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs and Hudson joined Gloucester teammates Billy Burns and England star Jonny May at Abbeymead Primary School to take part in the session with the kids.
Hudson will now be focused on making his return in time for the new season and the veteran acknowledges it has not been a fun campaign.
“The injury is ok – it’s very slow and quite a nasty one,” added Hudson. “It has not been the most fun I’ve had in a season trying to rehab and it’s taking a lot longer than we were hoping.
“I’ve just got to keep my head down and keep trying to get back when I can. It’s too early to say when I might be back – I wouldn’t like to say.
“When we started off, the target to return was put down and we’re already past that so unfortunately it is not behaving like we hoped.
“It’s not been a great deal of fun to have to watch but for a lot of the year it has been very positive.”
Hudson was speaking at an Aviva Tackling Numbers session. In partnership with Premiership Rugby, #AvivaTacklingNumbers helps 7-9 year olds put foundations in place for better financial skills later in life through the power of rugby. To find out more and take a maths test, visit aviva.co.uk/tacklingnumbers.