Waratahs taking every precaution with Hanigan's return

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs are taking every precaution with Ned Hanigan as the utility forward works his way back from a concussion.

Hanigan is yet to play this season after suffering a concussion in training ahead of NSW's first trial back in January but Waratahs coach Rob Penney expects he is at least another two weeks from a Super Rugby return.

Hanigan has been on a modified training schedule in recent weeks and though Penney said he was recovering well, there was a long road ahead.

"Ned's thankfully getting to a pretty good place but he's still probably a couple of weeks away at the earliest," he said.

"Obviously we're being guided by what the medical people  say but he's getting better all the time and I'd say he's 100 per cent now really but he's just got to tick a few boxes medically to satisfy the needs there."

Penney was part of the Canterbury staff when former All Black and now Blues coach Leon MacDonald and former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw battle similar problems.

MacDonald was ultimately forced out of the game because of a series of concussions later in his career but Penney said  the patience showed with that pair that paid off when they returned to the field.

"I was heavily involved when Leon MacDonald had concussion issues and ultimately came back to play a really meaningful All Black career and Richie McCaw, heavily involved through his issues and once both of those people recovered significantly they didn't have ongoing problems," he said.

"I'm not surprised by the duration, it can linger but I hope that we're going to have the same outcome we had with those other boys."

Given those experiences, Penney said the call to ensure Hanigan was fully cleared before returning to rugby was pivotal.

"It's not an issue for me. having a few grey hairs I get, not wisdom so much but a bit of maturity around that and don't get anxious because it just causes another layer of issues that you don't need."

Hanigan is the only major Waratahs name missing in action with injury and would add to a competitive back row department if he were cleared to return.

The Waratahs take on the Lions on Friday February 28 at Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta, kicking off at 7:15pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. The women take on the Brumbies earlier in the day, kicking off at 4:35pm AEDT, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au, Foxtel and Kayo Sports.