AFTER five months out with a cruciate knee injury, Gloucester Rugby hooker Huia Edmonds is back in the starting line up, but he won’t be putting pal Darren Dawidiuk’s nose out of joint when it comes to the number two shirt.

The four-times capped Australian saw his Aviva Premiership season come to a premature end last April when he suffered knee ligament damage playing against Sale Sharks.

It was the second time he had suffered such a serious injury on the knee, but thanks to synthetic ligament surgery he was able to make an early return to action at the start of October.

Two cameo appearances in the Aviva Premiership either side of a start in the Heineken Cup against Perpignan and the 32-year-old is now firmly back in the team, starting the last three games in all competitions.

His return has also seen the demotion of fellow hooker Dawidiuk to the bench for the last two Aviva Premiership games – the first time the 26-year-old hasn’t started in the league all season.

But despite appearing to take over the shirt, Edmonds insists their understanding of each other makes for a friendly rivalry.

“Darren is solid for us week in week out. We have a good partnership whether he is starting or I am starting,” he said.

“I have complete faith in everything he does and that goes the same for him. We just compliment each other.

“He is a very good player, a very good set piece player and he deserves the credit he is getting.

“Every position is up for grabs, I think it is a good thing we have three of four good hookers in the team, it keeps you performing week in week out and it’s healthy for the team.

“It was a long time out for me, I learnt to hate that physio table. It’s tough to watch sat on the sidelines, especially when the team are not having the best of starts to the year.

“I worried about it in the first couple of games, whether it was strong enough, can you step off it but it’s fine now and I don’t think about it.

“It’s just about getting on the field and playing rugby. I have been happy with the way I have been playing recently, hopefully I can build on that.”

Although helpless to prevent his side from losing 27-19 to Harlequins last time out, Edmonds did at least leave his mark in the form of a cute dummy to feed in Billy Twelvetrees for a try.

But keen to downplay his turn of skill, the hooker instead preferred to concentrate on their missed opportunity.

“I’ve had a few tweets about the dummy but there was not much made of it really, it was just good to get a try for the team,” added Edmonds.

“The first 25 minutes we thought we were in for a real shot in the game but then there was a six minute period where we sort of lost control and then from there we couldn’t really find a way back.

“It was frustrating but we have big hearts in this team and it showed we don’t give up.”

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