As he watched new recruit Kane Douglas hobble off just minutes into the World Cup final, Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham might have been entitled to feel like the side’s bad luck was continuing.
Douglas had overcome a frustrating back injury to make it back to the national squad and his combative on-field nature had made him a core part of the Wallabies’ World Cup setup.
A ruptured ACL ended his hopes of a seamless return to Super Rugby and looks likely to see him miss out on the June Test series against England.
Graham said he was disappointed for Douglas, his own charges, and supporters in the way it unfolded.
“We were sitting up watching at half past two in the morning as everyone was and I was just kicking cans,” he said.
“I was disappointed because Kane had worked really hard to get back into that setup.
“I was disappointed for our team because he’s a good acquisition and the supporters had become attached to him quite quickly.
Douglas has still played a role off the field since joining the Reds in January and the lock is keeping a positive attitude about his rehab.
The new father has had plenty to adjust to with the arrival of his daughter Cleo and a move to Queensland.
With the Reds’ training scheduled to fit around humid Brisbane weather, Douglas has managed plenty of time with his family over summer and said he was adjusting well.
While being in rehabilitation has kept him out of the main training group, Douglas still has plenty of advice to give.
The powerful second-rower admits technical advice might not be his forte, he has been trying to help keep things light during training.
“I’m probably not the most technical player if anything but any sort of advice I can give (I will),” he said.
“I just try and influence the boys by getting them to have a bit of a laugh between being serious.
“It’s about that balance and ripping in at training and I just try and do that in the rehab group as well.”
Douglas said he would be patient in his comeback from surgery, with a timeframe not conclusively set for his return.
“The physios don’t really go, ‘this is when you’ll be back’,” he said.
“It’s more just see how you go through different stages.
“I need it to be 100 per cent before I’m back. I don't want it rushed at all.”
While he won’t be suiting up this weekend, the former Waratah said it will be interesting to see his new side take on the team he won the 2014 championship with.
“Even when I was overseas I tried to watch the Super Rugby games so it will be good to watch,” he said.
“(It’ll) a bit different with this weekend with the Reds playing the 'Tahs and being on the other team now, so hopefully they go alright.”