FOUR career-threatening surgical reconstructions and a release from the final year on his contract at the NSW Waratahs in 2011 could not stop flanker Ben Coridas from achieving his dream of playing Super 15 Rugby.
The former Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers junior will debut at open side flanker for the Queensland Reds against ACT Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night.
The 23-year-old could not believe his luck with the shock selection as he was plucked from Queensland Premier Rugby Union team GPS.
“It was totally out of the blue and I didn’t expect them to pick me,” Coridas said.
“I’m pretty excited and plan to make the most of this opportunity.”
Coridas admits he had considered giving up on his dream of playing Super 15 rugby earlier this season.
“About two months ago I spoke to Ewen McKenzie and asked if I could concentrate on working more as a part-time personal trainer to help pay the bills,” he said.
“It was only about two weeks ago that he asked me to come back to training full-time.
“He pulled me aside on Tuesday night and told me I was in, I couldn’t believe it, I jumped at the chance.”
Coridas will have to be at his best - the Reds currently sit at the top of the table and are coming off a thrilling 17-16 victory against the Crusaders.
Regular flanker Beau Robinson has had a bumper season and will be sorely missed.
“I have big shoes to fill and I hope I do him (Robinson) proud,” Coridas said.
“He is a pest at the breakdown and I think Ewen (McKenzie) wanted a specialist to replace him.
“I’m confident I can lay the same platform as Beau and be a menace at the breakdown.”
Coridas also realises that he has a big opportunity to play finals football with an in-form Reds team.
Not bad for someone who has had two shoulder reconstructions, a major knee surgery and an ankle reconstruction since 2006.
“There were times when I had my head down and thought about finishing up,” he said.
“But I stuck at it and after five years of trying I’ve finally made it.
“If you show plenty of heart and keep backing yourself the opportunities will follow.
“You couldn’t pick a better time to come in and fingers crossed I can keep my position or earn a bench spot in the finals.
“At the start of the week I was really nervous.
“Now I’ve settled down a bit and I’m ready to go.”
Kick-off is 7.40pm.