How rugby helped heal Caroline Fairs

by Sam Phillips

Rugby is far more than just a game for Caroline Fairs.

The Wallaroos lock, who will make her first start for Australia in three years tomorrow, has used rugby as a vehicle back to happiness, having suffered postnatal depression in her time away from the game.

"It is just... everything to me," an emotional Fairs said.

"I've put my heart and soul into getting back into this squad.

"It's been part of my recovery from postnatal depression and without the support of my husband, our baby and my family and friends, I definitely wouldn't be here today."Caroline Fairs will play her first Test in three years tomorrow. Photo: ARU Media/Brendan HertelFor Fairs, the journey back to rugby has been a tumultuous, to say the least.

A freak training accident while in France preparing for the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup saw her diagnosed with a herniated disc, doctors telling the 34-year-old that she should consider pulling the pin on her rugby career.

"I kind of thought I might get into coaching, we did want to start a family but I missed it so much," she said.

"I had to get back into it, especially after watching the girls in New Zealand last year.

"Now, to be back here, is just fantastic."

Fairs' return comes against the best team in the world - the Black Ferns.

"It's going to be a massive challenge for our girls," she said.

"But we can only keep building each game and focus on one opposition at a time, focus on our game plan and give it our all.

"We're playing for the crest on our chest, we're playing for our teammates, we're playing for our family and friends back home so we are going to leave nothing out on the field."It's been a long road back for Caroline Fairs. Photo: ARU MediaThe Wallaroos' scrum was under the pump from the outset against England and Fairs hopes to make an impact in that department.

"I don't want to lose any of our scrums and if we can, I'd love for us to take their ball as well.

"Having not played since 2014, I am busting to get onto the pitch tomorrow."

The Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns tomorrow, kicking off at 12:45 AEST, broadcast LIVE on