December 10 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe at Allianz Park
Monday, October 7, 2013
Will Fraser made a scoring return six weeks ahead of schedule from a shoulder injury that baffled specialists as Saracens maintained their perfect start to the Aviva Premiership season.
The openside flanker crossed for the Hendon outfit’s only try as they beat London Wasps 19-12 on Saturday to record a fifth win in five, but his place in a new-look back row was remarkable enough on its own.
In April, Fraser tore a tendon off the bone and there were doubts about how he would recover as he was passed around a number of medical experts who had never before seen the injury in a rugby player.
In the end he discovered it was a problem previously seen in rodeo riders but with only a small number of cases to refer to there was no precedent for how he might recover in order to return to the rough and tumble of rugby.
Yet Fraser showed no signs of any lingering problems despite being subject to a thumping off-the-ball assault from Wasps’ Kearnan Myall that left him spread-eagled on the Allianz Park pitch and saw his rival sent to the sin bin.
The forward peeled himself off the artificial pitch to cross the whitewash early in the second half and afterwards hailed the medical “magic” that saw him return earlier than expected.
“I was told it’s an injury a lot of rodeo riders and water sports athletes get because of all the pulling on the arms, but mine was an impact injury.
“I got cleared out and and it popped it [the muscle] straight off [the bone], so it made it even more strange.
“They reckon I’m the only rugby player to have ever done it. There was no-one else on record.
“We had to see a few specialists and the surgeon said to me, ‘I don’t really know how people recover from these because I’ve only done a handful of them, so I can’t really tell you’.
“But because of that there was a lot of leeway in terms of my comeback.
“The surgeon said November but because it was so rare there was no real way of telling [how it would go].
“I was a bit of guinea pig for the medics but they worked their magic and I’m back now.”
Fraser was delighted to get on the scoresheet but admitted it will take time to get up to speed.
“It was good to get over the whitewash in the first game back and to get through a whole game does a world of good for my confidence,” he said, adding: “But I was pretty rusty in a good few areas, so there’s a lot to work on this week, going into Europe.”
Yet his talent was enough for England selectors to give him the nod for the Saxons squad after his injury saw him miss the senior side’s summer tour to Argentina.
He said: “It’s great to know that I’m still in the thoughts of the England set-up. But for me, at the moment, it’s just about playing well for my club.
“If England comes on the back of that then great. If not then I will keep my head down and keep going here.
“You don’t get anywhere unless you play well for your club. That’s the most important thing.
“If you start thinking ahead to England you will fall at the first hurdle.”
His club side are yet to slip-up this term, though their performance on Saturday was a sign of the old Sarries as they won ugly and held off a late Wasps fightback that saw Chris Bell snatch two late tries.
“It’s great to be back. It’s broken me slightly watching the boys run out here over the last few weeks, so it’s great to be back on the pitch and doing what I love.
“It is tough watching but then it’s great at the same time because they are your mates, it’s your club and you want everyone to do well.”
Sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership, Saracens now turn their attention to the Heineken Cup and an opening trip to Connacht on Friday.