After missing most of the last year with a combination of shoulder and knee injuries, Tom Isaacs says he wants to show people why the Ospreys brought him to the region in the summer of 2009.
The former Newport RFC and Dragons scrum-half signed a two-year deal ahead of the 09/10 campaign and made a promising start to life at the Ospreys, catching the eye in pre-season before performing well for Swansea in the Premiership.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury sustained playing for the All Whites last October saw him sidelined for six months following reconstructive surgery. Shortly after finally returning to action with Swansea in April this year, the 2009 Sevens Rugby World winner sustained a fresh injury in training with the national sevens squad and underwent an operation to repair damage to knee ligaments and a hamstring tendon.
Isaacs has worked hard with the Ospreys medical team over the last six months and is back out of the treatment room and onto the pitch after returning to action with Swansea in recent weeks. Now that he is playing again, he says that he wants to get up to speed as soon as possible, showing the kind of form that convinced the Ospreys to swoop for him in the first place.
“I’ve had a very frustrating 12 months but I’m feeling really good about myself at the moment” he said.
“I arrived here last year off the back of a good season but it seems that I’ve had more than my share of bad luck since, with my shoulder injury followed by the knee, but touch wood I’m over that now. I’ve worked hard to get where I am at the moment, the medical team here have been first class and really supported me through the experience and I’m grateful to them. Now I want to repay everybody here for the continued faith in me.
“I’m back playing, I’ve had a couple of games for Swansea already which I really enjoyed, and hopefully before long I’ll be back to where I was last year and contesting for an Ospreys place.”
“I was brought in two summers ago but no one has really seen me because of the injuries, I haven’t had a chance to show what I can do. I came here full of confidence off the back of a good season with the sevens, so yes, I guess I’m pretty keen to go out and prove a point to people, to show why the Ospreys wanted me.”
The 23-year old says that being involved with Swansea again is helping him to play his way back into form:
“There’s a great set-up at Swansea. At the moment they’ve got a lot of the young Ospreys involved who are doing really well, and they’ve got some good players with experience there as well. Training with them a couple of times a week as well as doing my work with the Ospreys in the day as really helped me get back into it. The team is doing really well and I’m happy to be a part of it there.
“It’s quite difficult to get back into the swing of things after so long out, but you soon pick it back up. Confidence is the biggest thing, I’ve found, after so long I’ve found myself questioning my abilities, Match fitness is a big thing as well, you can spend as much time as you want on the training paddock, but without actually playing the game you never really get that level of fitness that you really need.
“But, once you’ve spent a bit of time out there it all starts to come back, you begin to remember things, you get back into the swing of things, it gets easier and you remember why you love playing the game.
“I’m desperate to make an impact with the region, but I realise I’ve got to be patient at the moment. I have had a year out, so without putting too much pressure on myself I’ve got to work hard, try to play rugby like I know I can, and the rest will hopefully follow.”