He is Queensland’s best finisher and made an instant 2012 impact with the Wallabies but blazing winger Dom Shipperley expects to hit new heights by finding another gear of speed.
Shipperley turned heads by scoring an Australian-high eight tries in Super Rugby last season, although he did it in pain with osteitis pubis restricting his movement.
It’s hard to believe considering the youngster’s pace and form saw Wallabies coach Robbie Deans pick him for three Tests before wrist surgery stopped his run in October.
While he recovered from that operation, a visit to renowned groin specialist Dr Neil Halpin saw him booked in for surgery in December.
“Basically I was told my groin and my pelvis were so inflamed that it wouldn’t loosen by itself so I was getting abdominal pain all the way up to my belly-button,” Shipperley told AAP.
“I woke up the next day and my groin was loose for the first time in about a year and I don’t have any abdominal pain now.
“I have no inhibitions when I run whereas all of last year I did, so hopefully now I’ll be a bit quicker.”
Shipperley showed he’s back to his best with a strong display in the Reds’ 25-17 defeat of NSW last Saturday night, fending off Adam Ashley-Cooper and running over Israel Folau to score the opening try.
He’ll have to be just as effective against the Hurricanes on Friday night when he marks Jonah Lomu-like All Blacks winger Julian Savea at Suncorp Stadium.
While Shipperley impressed in his rookie Test season, it was nothing on 105kg powerhouse Savea who scored a hat-trick on debut against Ireland.
“I’ll have my hands full with him,” the 22-year-old said. “He’s a real go-to man and definitely one of the power players in their backline.”
The Hurricanes have received a major boost with influential skipper Conrad Smith cleared of concussion to line up as their wise head in the centres.
With the Wellington-based visitors topping the competition’s try-scoring list in 2012, Shipperley predicted a fast-flowing attacking match but urged patience for the Reds to make the most of their chances.
Queensland wasted a litany of try-scoring opportunities against the Waratahs when they too often pushed the pass in the clear or were too extravagant near the line.
“We have to be calm about it and do the basics well,” Shipperley said.
“Sometimes you can throw that 50-50 ball but sometimes it’s better to take the tackle and recycle the ball and regroup and go again.”