When Jake Gordon went down with a knee injury during the Waratahs loss to the Highlanders last month, he feared the worst.
After missing the majority of the Super Rugby AU season with an ankle injury, Gordon had rocketed himself into Wallaby contention after a series of strong performers for the Waratahs.
As he hobbled off the field, further tests would show his ACL had loosened, leaving Gordon to ponder if his season was over
However, scans would only show damage to his MCL, leaving Gordon relieved and hungry to return in time for the start of the impending French series on July 7.
“I didn’t know what I did when it first happened. It was an awkward landing and it felt quite strange,“ he told Rugby.com.au. “I’ve done my MCL before but not that sort of movement.
“I was hoping it wasn’t anything too bad. It was quite sore when I first did it, once I got told the news originally it exaggerated the feeling around it too, obviously being sensitive to hearing you’ve done your ACL.
“As soon as I heard it was an MCL, it felt better instantly so it shows how much your mind can control things.
“I’m relieved it’s only an MCL, I’m on my way to recovery and hopefully I’m right to play… It’s probably the best news I’ve ever got receiving an injury. I’m very thankful it wasn’t what it was supposed to be.”
The 27-year-old looms as the most experienced scrumhalf in camp alongside Tate McDermott and Ryan Lonergan with Nic White already ruled out, ironically (and cruelly) with his own MCL injury.
With exactly a week remaining until the opening Test of 2021, Gordon is slowly returning to training as he makes an unlikely push for selection.
“At the start of the week, I did my first session on my feet and it feels really good,” Gordon said.
“I’ve started to do some change of direction, ball work but it’s developing quicker than expected. It feels really good.”
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After a tough year with the Waratahs, Gordon is joined in camp by a host of teammates, including the likes of Angus Bell, Lalakai Foketi and Lachie Swinton.
Following the winless season, the Waratahs skipper was excited to see how they develop at the next level as they look to build for 2022, particularly pleased to see Foekti rewarded for his breakout year.
“It was quite a disappointing year for us. I’m really excited to see guys develop as rugby players and it’s important for us to come into this environment and learn and see how we can improve our game and take that back to the Waratahs and pass it on,” he added.
“I’m really happy about some of the guys here. I’ve watched them develop over time and hope they can really make a mark on that Super Rugby comp next year.
“…It’s a pretty exciting time for Lalakai (Foketi). It’s his first Wallabies camp and he’s been training really well. I’m really excited to see what comes of him."