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It was almost 10 years since Ryan Perkins last game of rugby, which was for Pirates Under 21s v Star at Centrepoint Park , Invercargill, way back in 1995. However, after months of coaxing and cajoling, several aborted efforts, a lot of crying, whinging, whimpering and excuses, Ronny, 1 month shy of his 30th birthday, finally returned to the pitch last weekend for the mighty Kilburn Cosmos.

There were a lot of nerves before this game Ė and they werenít just Ronnys. After being the one to take the little guy out of the game, setting back a very promising rugby career, and then to basically twist his arm to play again I didnít want to have to ring Mr & Mrs Perkins to tell them Ronny had once again injured his shoulder and it was my fault.

The game itself didnít look very promising, it was a friendly v Wasps Cubans and about 5 minutes before the game we had 9 players. It looked like Ron was going to escape again. Fortunately the Cubans had plenty of players and lent us enough to make a team. Ronny courageously volunteered to be a wing.

Another factor making Ronnys comeback notable was the fact I was captain. Now everyone that knows me will realise I am hardly captain material. It is normally the captains job to make decisions and motivate his players, things that arenít really my bag. In fact things were so bad I didnít even know my options when I won the toss. But nevertheless I attempted to gee the troops up, we kicked off and Ronny was back in the game.

I admit that my heart skipped a beat the first time Ronny was forced to make a tackle. How was the shoulder going to go? Fortunately the shoulder was fine and I think it was the opposition forward who got the biggest surprise when Ronny hammered him and flipped him round onto our side. Ron was back.

After a couple more solid tackles he got his first attacking chance when the Wasps backs dropped the ball in our 22. The ball was on the ground and I got a shout from Ron and kicked it towards his wing, he then kicked the ball downfield and took off. The pitch was very muddy so the ball never bounced up, forcing Ron to kick the ball a couple more times down the field and finally into the ingoal. Unfortunately the time taken to kick the ball allowed one of the opposition to catch up and he just pipped Ron to the ball, denying Perkins a great try in his comeback game. Ron didnít really get many more opportunities in the first half, being denied good ball by our greedy centre.

In the second half a great 50 metre surge by Perkins should have brought the Cosmos their first try. He got the ball just about on our 22 with a number of Wasps backs coming across in cover. Beating his opposite and the cover for pace he tore down the wing and was eventually tackled by the Wasps fullback about 30 metres out. The forwards got there in support and ball started coming out the backline where there was a huge 4 man overlap. Unfortunately one of our props decided he was going to score and took it himself and unfortunately turned the ball over.

Ron made a few more excellent runs, got reasonably hammered a couple of times, and made some awesome tackles, (he spent the last quarter at fullback trying to shore up an increasingly leaky Cosmos defence) Ė with no ill effects to the dodgy shoulder. So it was a very successful comeback by Rugged Ronny Perkins, easily the most dynamic Cosmos back on the paddock, but unfortunately unsuccessful for the Cosmos, who lost on the scoreboard about 38-0. But I think overall rugby was the winner with the return to its ranks of the little genius.

Next game for Perkins and Ginger is Sat 19th February. Sadly this game didnt go quite so well. After a promising start the Cosmos turned to crap, there was no ball for the backs as the the forwards struggled to win their own ball in the scrums and lineouts. Then early in the second half Richey was stomped on, resulting in a very nasty gash, a huge roar from the big man(when he thought his eye was gone, but then realised the gooey mess on the ground was a munched worm which he was looking at through both eyes) and a premature finish to the game and trip to A&E.

The Cosmos lost quite convincingly in the end and after getting no ball in freezing conditions Perkins retired again that night.

Luckily he was  coaxed out of retirement for a game on 5th March by manager Phil Morgan on the request of captain Pat Hutch who wanted Perkins in the team. Unfortunately this game was called off.

So, fingers crossed, this week sees the reformation of the feared, dynamic trio of Hook, Perkins, and Cunninghame. Responsible for cutting swathes through the opposition on the touch paddock and scoring bundles of tries and the occasional bit of magic in 15s and 7s whenever they managed to play on the same team. Will the magic still be there... or will 10 years, 30 kgs gained and 10kgs lost take its toll. Stay tuned....