Highlanders first five-eighth Colin Slade is looking forward to the upcoming Super Rugby season and is targeting his comeback for early next month.
Ten cap All Black Slade has not play rugby since March last year when he broke his leg playing against the Brumbies.
Slade's broken leg ended his 2012 season prematurely and came after a horror 2011 season in which he broke his jaw twice and aggravated a groin injury in the quarter-final against Argentina which ruled out of the Rugby World Cup.
His latest injury has been a lengthy lay off and although he is close to making his comeback Slade admits that is has been a "long, lonely journey".
"You turn up to the physio every day by yourself and do the rehab when everyone else is training or going off to lunch," he says.
"You get to know yourself and how you respond to things," Slade told 3News.
"I like to think I pulled through it pretty well and I'm still upbeat about my chances of playing well and leading the Highlanders team around."
Slade rates himself as being at about 95 per cent of the way to being fully fit and says with a bit more contact work and running he will catch up the remaining 5 per cent.
The Highlanders start their Super Rugby campaign against defending champions the Chiefs in Dunedin on February 22nd but this will probably be a little too soon for him.
The following week the Highlanders have a bye which gives Slade an extra week so he is hoping to be ready to face the Cheetahs at Invercargill on March the 9th.
While Slade was out on the sidelines he managed to complete a BA degree at Canterbury University.