Tiaan Falcon puts injury time to good use

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Sunday, August 4, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

He ruptured his Achilles tendon in January and then had a major shoulder operation in April and he has been running for nearly a month and his shoulder was feeling good, although it had been a long process of recovery.

He has been set a return time in mid-October and whether that will see him available for any Mitre 10 Cup play will depend on how far Hawke's Bay are able to go into the Championship playoffs.

But if he isn't able to get game time he will be set to go into pre-season Super Rugby training with the Chiefs in December.

Strauss said having suffered his Achilles injury so early in the year meant he was able to fill in his time by going to Waikato University and doing two papers during the first semester. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays he was a fulltime university student while on Mondays he would pop into Chiefs HQ to meetings.

He's studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology.

"It's pretty interesting how the mind works and I'll be keen to be a sports psychologist myself when I get older," he said.

The shoulder surgery was necessary after suffering an injury in the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato last year which ended his season. The original intention had been to rehab the shoulder and play on with it this year, but the Achilles injury had provided the chance to get the surgery done on his shoulder so he would be fully fit when returning.

Strauss said he didn't really worry about the lost opportunity when Damian McKenzie was lost for the season, something that had he been fit he could have expected more game time.

"This year would have been a good year, but injuries are all part of the game. Everyone gets injured so I've just got to make sure my body is right and my mind is right for when I get back in in December," he said.

Support had been provided from the Chiefs and he had spoken several times with the side's sports psychologist Dave Galbraith about keeping perspective and appreciating that he was in a special position as a professional rugby player and taking the time to make this year the best that he could.

Sitting back and watching games could be a strain for some, but Falcon took the chance to look at games as if he was playing so that when he returns the game didn't feel so foreign to him.

"It's just analysing things and staying in the right mindset for games. It is a different outlook but something I hope to take full advantage of when I come back," he said.

Falcon said there had been a few changes with the Hawke's Bay side but the seven players introduced from Hastings Boys' High School last year were developing nicely and he was expecting them to show out this year.

Some experience, especially with flanker Brendan O'Connor coming back, would be a help for the side.

It had been disappointing for the side last year not to be able to make it out of the Championship and he said there were a couple of key moments in their playoffs game with Otago which they lost 19-20 that had cost them. However, he expected the players would benefit from that experience.