Hamish Watson has spoken for the first time about the mixture of bitter disappointment and relief he felt after sustaining the injury that ended his World Cup.
The Edinburgh flanker suffered knee damage during Scotland’s opening game against Ireland and had to fly home to begin his rehabilitation, only returning to action in last week’s Pro14 win in Ulster. As he looked forward to tomorrow’s Challenge Cup match at home to Wasps, Watson explained that, while frustrated to have his tournament curtailed, he was also relieved not to be sidelined for longer.
“If you’ve ever done your knee before, you know straight away, and I felt it stretch and felt something snap a bit,” he said of the incident, which occurred at a breakdown. “At that point I was just thinking ‘I hope it’s not my ACL’, which is what most players think. As soon as you do your knee you think the worst. With any injury, you think ‘how long will this keep me out for?’
“When I got into the changing room they said ‘Your ACL feels intact, we think it’s the medial’. Then I went for a scan straight after the game and found out it was just a medial ligament injury, and though it was pretty gutting missing my first World Cup, it was a bit of a silver lining that it was only a 10-to-12-week injury and I’d be back for Edinburgh pretty soon.
“A lot of players have a lot longer injury than that, I’ve had a longer injury with my shoulder myself. So the disappointment of missing the World Cup was hard to take, but as soon as I got over that I could start aiming to getting back to being fit for Edinburgh.
“Having my wife and daughter at home helps as well – if that had been four or five years ago, coming back to an empty flat, it would have been a bit bleak just after leaving the World Cup. It was nice to have them around when I came home.”
In the event, the 28-year-old made his comeback a week or two ahead of schedule, and can now look forward to being involved in the double-header against Wasps and the two 1872 Cup games against Glasgow which follow. “It’s great to come back and have some tough games,” he added. “They’ll test me and test the team as well.”