It’s no wonder the Irish eyes of Cork-born forward Will Ryan are smiling again, writes Guy Williams.
The Rotherham Titans number eight is about to play his first game of rugby in 10 months on Saturday now that he’s fully recovered from the serious knee injury sustained in only the second week of pre-season training in July last year.
Ryan, 25, is going out on loan to Hull Ionians and expects to play for 30 minutes against Fylde in a National One league match in what is a hugely important game for the Irishman as he launches his come-back.
“I’m delighted and am feeling pretty good,” he said.
“It’ll feel strange to be back playing. I’ve done all the tests and they’ve been fine, so now I’ve got to get match fit.
“I played 10 minutes in a training session with the Rotherham boys last Saturday but it felt like 80.
“I was very stiff the next day but I soon loosened up. I’ve been back in full training since the end of December and the priority now is to push on and get back into the team.
“It was so annoying and frustrating to get injured so early, but these things happen.
“Other players at Rotherham, James McKinney and Joel Gill, have been out with the same injury and they’ve bounced back, so there’s no reason why I can’t.”
This season promised to be highly significant for Ryan who showed much promise in his 21 games for the Titans since his debut against London Scottish in September 2014.
Little did he know that his last game for Rotherham would be against the same opposition at Abbeydale in April last year. Thankfully, Ryan is now back on his feet and eager to make a contribution as the club tries to return to winning form.
“I’m not sure how many games I will have at Hull Ionians. It depends on how it goes, but I’d like to think that I’ll play again for Rotherham this season.
“The coach Mark Jones suffered the same injury when he played in Wales, so he knows how I’ve been feeling.
“He’s not put pressure on me, has kept me in the loop and has spoken to me a lot. I know the team will improve. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the way Rotherham have been playing. We are creating scoring chances, but we are not executing them to the best of our ability.
“Looking back at the time I was out, our medical team were a massive help. Chris Myers, David Swift, his son Neil and the conditioning and fitness advisor Josh Fletcher were great because some days you felt good and on others it was very painful.”