CAPE TOWN – Experienced Blitzbok Kyle Brown says allowing his recovery to “slip down the priority list” allowed him to be fit in time for the first challenge of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series.
Ahead of the Dubai tournament last weekend, Brown admitted that he had thought his career was over after suffering two serious knee injuries in back-to-back seasons.
He tore his ligaments during the 2017-18 season in Singapore earlier this year, similar to his 2016-17 setback at the Cape Town Sevens, where he went down clutching his knee at Cape Town Stadium.
He made it back in time for the start of their new campaign, though.
“I’m very happy to be back on the field. It was a quick return to play and to be able to be back is always special,” Brown said. “You’re always nervous when you have to return and play at this level again, but I’m glad I have the first one (tournament) behind me so now I can just go forward and progress.”
The former skipper believes not allowing the stress that comes with recovery to take up too much mental space aided his recovery.
“Interestingly enough, this was less stressful than the last one. The last one was a 10-month recovery and this was a seven-and-a-half-month one,” he explained. “We have been pretty lucky that this one went well. The last time we had a bit of bone bruising and a bit of a back issue.
“Also, having had a kid in the last two years, your recovery process kind of starts to slip down your priority list. And when you don’t place so much emphasis on the small niggles you have in between it doesn’t play so heavily on your mind.”
The Blitzboks had to be happy with sixth place in Dubai after they were knocked out of the Cup quarter-finals by England and eventually succumbed to Fiji in an extra-time thriller in the fifth-place final.
Their defence was one of the things that hurt them most in that game against England, but just like with the other teething problems they’ve encountered, Brown is confident that the combination of new blood and older hands will become more fluid the more they play.
“I saw a stat and it said that we had a 64 percent tackle completion, which is horrendous from our side,” Brown said. “It shows that we’re not set in our defensive structures just yet. For the last couple of years we’ve been successful and we had a lot of time with our different combinations.
“We have new combinations now, not to say that there are too many new faces, but we have some interesting new combinations that will flourish.
“So I’m very excited to see how we do progress.
“There’s no major fundamental problems in terms of our game plan. It’s the small things that we have to fix. I was more positive after watching a few videos after Dubai, those things will come together.
“If not now, then when will we grow our squad? We have the Olympics coming up next year and not only do we have to qualify, but we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got a competent squad.
Unfortunately that’s going to mean that there are going to have to be lessons learnt and the guys are going to have to make mistakes.”@WynonaLouw