Waratahs hooker Dave Porecki has opened up on his recovery following a nasty calf injury that saw him sidelined for the rest of the season.
Porecki found himself in contention for Wallabies selection after strong performances for NSW following his return from London Irish.
However, he would be forced off in the penultimate game of their season against the Highlanders with a calf complaint.
Whilst Porecki instantly knew it was more than a simple strain, it would take weeks before the full extent of the injury, which stunned the 'Tahs medical team.
“So my injury was a bit weird because I think a couple of people thought I just had a calf strain but actually I had apparently quite a rare calf injury that I separated both my calf muscles from each other,” Porecki revealed to rugby.com.au
“The medical team were a bit stumped about how to approach this so there was a point where I was getting a little bit worried because I’d haven’t seen it before.
“It kept me out of any end of year stuff which was frustrating but it turned a corner about eight weeks ago luckily so it’s been progressing really well.
“I knew something was wrong when I did it. I could feel it wasn’t just a normal calf strain but as the weeks went on and more scans I got, they eventually got a clear picture of how much damage I did to my calf. It was a bit of a longer journey than what I thought but I’m feeling confident with it now finally and it’s on track.”
Having had the chance to connect with the Wallabies set-up during a training camp in April, the 29-year-old admits he was fortunate enough to keep in full contact with their medical staff, who helped him through the rehab process.
Porecki remains focused on getting back to full fitness in time for trials next year knowing some strong performances will put him back on the national radar.
“I had communication post-injury which I think was the best thing, they took over control and oversaw the rehab and just checked in,” he said. “I got to know them when I went on that little camp as well so you get that relationship but I feel comfortable enough to message and they’ll message me and just check in to see how it’s going.
“In terms of the future, it really does change year to year. Whilst I was on the radar last year, in my mind, it’s a fresh year so for me, the best thing I can do is controlling what I can control which is getting my calf back to 100% and coming back in better shape and performing this year.
“I think if you control that, you’re going to be on the radar no matter what, any player that does their role really well and performs week in week out, you’re going to get interest.
“It’s nice to know that I was on the radar but to me pessimistically, it doesn’t mean anything until I’m there and for me to get there this year, I need to perform this year.”
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As the Waratahs prepare for the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season, Porecki could barely hide his excitement at the prospect of playing against the likes of Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika.
“It’s actually unreal because the Fijians I’ve played with overseas, their athleticism, their ability to play Rugby is unbelievable and a lot of them are hidden gems, you won’t know that they are special until you play with them or until they get into a professional environment,” Porecki noted.
“I think for them having that platform to play in this competition and to play in a professional team will be massive, you’ll see a lot of players that you will be so shocked with.
“With Moana (Pasifika), it’s a massive opportunity for those guys as well just to get some gametime, some exposure because a lot of them are getting signed from that ITM Cup. To get that exposure at this level, I think they’re all going to become better players, it’s exciting to see.
"Obviously South Africa left and it made it a smaller competition but if you can correctly incorporate these types of teams that are competitive, I think it’s awesome for the competition.
“It also gives players a bigger opportunity to make teams as well and in turn, helps the development of these types of players is huge so I’m literally all for it…the competition and the draw looks pretty exciting to be a part of.”