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What 'scared' Tahs flanker Lachlan Swinton about 'unknown' injury

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Following a lengthy stint on the sidelines, Waratahs enforcer Lachlan Swinton has opened up about the cruel injury blow which left him “scared.”

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Heralded as an emerging star in Australian rugby, the hard-hitting Blindside Flanker made his Wallabies debut against the All Blacks in Brisbane a couple of years ago.

While he was able to realise his international rugby dream by donning Wallaby gold, his debut was defined by a red card. Still, Swinton is destined for so much more.

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After playing another six Test matches, and with the World Cup just around the corner, Swinton suffered a season-ending injury in the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific last year.

Swinton has had his “fair share of broken bones”, but the Waratahs ace had never experienced something like this before.

Having injured a nerve in his right shoulder, there were a lot of unknowns surrounding the rehabilitation process.

“When you talk about nerves and the nature that it is, it’s all very unknown… it varies from person to person. That’s probably the biggest thing that scared me,” Swinton told RugbyPass.

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“All the stuff wasn’t really set in stone. Say you did your ACL, you’re going to be back in five months… but with this, we’re like ‘we can do this, we can do that, this may work, this may not.’

“I full had to change my lifestyle. They were talking to me about anything I put into my body impacts the way the nerves regenerate.

“For me (I had) to completely cut alcohol out… I had to strip it back completely and change my lifestyle which was another big impact.

“It was good for the long run, that I could show myself I could do that.”

The star flanker sailed into unknown waters as began his rehabilitation process. Swinton continued to focus on his recovery without much success.

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Five months into his rehabilitation, Swinton spoke with a surgeon about an operation – which has since proven to be a success.

“It was obviously pretty tough like any injury, but the nature of the unknown aspect of it… it was a little bit scary for me at times,” he added.

“(I was) reassured by the surgeons and by the statistics that the operation would be a successful one, and probably about a month ago I started noticing some change in my shoulder.

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“It’s starting to act as a proper deltoid which is positive news. It was a very long timeframe I was working with.

“I think I was off feet for about two months and just… did heaps of leg weights to get my body weight higher.”

After a long and gruelling preseason, Swinton made his return to competitive rugby in the Waratahs’ pre-season clash against the ACT Brumbies.

Swinton also donned the famous sky blue jersey against fierce rivals Queensland in Narrabri on Saturday.

While this year’s Rugby World Cup continues to play on his mind, Swinton explained that the operation was made to prioritise the “longevity of his career.”

“When I was playing, obviously I had the mindset of ‘I’ve gotta do whatever I can to make it on that plane (to France).’

“But then with the operation on the cards and the reality of it all sunk in, I had to adopt the mindset of the longevity of my career.

“The priority became more me getting this fixed and getting it done right to make my career blossom.”

The time for talking is almost done. The new Super Rugby Pacific season is almost here.

Reigning champions the Crusaders will host the Chiefs in an opening round blockbuster in Christchurch, before an Australian derby later that day between the Waratahs and Brumbies.

The Waratahs are set to host that clash at Allianz Stadium on February 24 at 7.35pm local time.

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