Concussion layoff won't change Hanigan's approach

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs forward Ned Hanigan says a long concussion layoff won't be changing his approach to rugby.

Hanigan missed NSW's entire Super Rugby campaign before the season was shut down in March after suffering a preseason head knock.

The utility forward was concussed in training in January and battled ongoing symptoms during the Super Rugby season.

"It was just ongoing," he said.

"It just that lingering with concussion unfortunately with the injury, there's a bit of unknown with still.

"Some people are right in two weeks, some people take eight weeks, it's just a bit up in the air but I just kept having symptoms.

"The good thing is I'm feeling great now, back on the paddock, so it was good fun."

That time on the sideline meant Hanigan's outing against the Reds last Friday night was his first since playing NRC for the Country Eagles back in October 2019.

Hanigan said the concussion layoff wouldn't have a lingering impact on his psyche going into matches, keen as ever to throw himself into contests.

"I'm a bit of an idiot like that anyway, I just throw my head at it," he laughed.

"I think the first game back, it's always going to be not as familiar as what you're used to, just because it's been so long but it only really takes about 20 minutes in the game to realise that you draw on a bit of experience and it comes back to you pretty quick."

There was little time to ease into things against Queensland in round one, an encounter that was every bit as fiery as the lead-up suggested it would be.

"There was a bit of heat," Hanigan said.

"I think the intensity, you could just feel the hate they were giving us and the hate that we were giving them a bit.

"It was good, I loved being out there and that passion that each team has with the jersey and that sort of thing.

"It was good to feel that again."

The Waratahs are likely to face another emotional weekend when they take on the Force in the WA side's first clash back in Super Rugby since they were axed from the competition.

It was the Waratahs who faced off against the Force in their final Super Rugby game back in July 2017 and Hanigan welcomed their return.

"I think first of all, it's great to see they're back in the comp. There's obviously so much support over there on the western side," he said.

"They've had so much time together that group.

:The connections and things of playing with their backs and forwards, that sort of link play they're quite good at so we know they're going to shift the ball a fair bit." 

The Waratahs host the Force at the SCG on Saturday July 11, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo subscription here.