Cork prop determined to get back in frame after 'weird' injury
Tighthead’s season ended prematurely before Christmas but he is targeting World Cup window for Reds return, writes Daragh Small
As ankle ligaments injuries go, the Lisfranc is definitely one of the more unusual, but it's certainly pretty severe.
Munster tighthead prop Brian Scott had registered 11 appearances for his province in 2016-17, and added 12 more last season, but this time around his season was cruelly cut short.
He had only accumulated 31 minutes for Munster before he got injured playing for Cork Con in December. And it was the Lisfranc ligament that has brought his campaign to an end.
"I actually don't know if it's more difficult for a player in my position coming back from this type of injury," said Scott.
"There are not many people who have got this injury before. It is very uncommon. I think two have got this surgery in Munster and the last one was maybe 10 years ago.
"It is hard to know when the other player wasn't even in my position. I hope the range will come back pretty quickly, and once I can get down into the scrum position there should be no problems playing from there."
The 26-year-old Youghal native had looked to make big strides this season but with John Ryan, Stephen Archer and Ciaran Parker all vying for the No 3 shirt, it was never going to be easy.
Ryan was the only tighthead called up by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt during the Six Nations, but that still could have been the ideal situation for Scott to gain some valuable extra minutes on the pitch.
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However, he was going around in an orthopaedic boot instead after his treacherous injury struck in the weeks before Christmas.
"It just happened in a contact situation. My foot got stuck in the pitch and I went over it," said Scott.
"I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. Then I went for a scan and found out the extent of it. It has put me out for a good stint.
"I had surgery just before Christmas, I went straight in for surgery and got it operated on. I was over in London for that.
"I was in a boot for the 12 weeks after that. Now I am two or three weeks out of the boot at home thankfully.
"It is an uncommon injury. It is hard to spot but it is just a ligament that it is in between your big toe and second toe. It ruptured down in the middle of that, in the base of your foot.
"It was a weird one. I was actually hoping that it was a break, I know that a break is a quicker return than a ligament. It was quite swollen straight away. I didn't expect great things from it.
"I just thought it was a break by what I felt but it wasn't unfortunately."
The worst thing Scott could do is rush to get back before the end of the season, and in doing so risk doing the damage all over again.
Instead, his primary objective is getting ready to launch an assault during pre-season 2019-20.
It will be a long hard summer of recuperation and rehabilitation but the front-rower is still looking forward to it. Every step on the road to recovery is a good one.
It is expected that the PRO14 will be starting later than usual, at the end of September, due to the Rugby World Cup, which takes place in Japan.
Ireland's first game of the World Cup, against Scotland in Yokohama, takes places on Sunday, September 22 and around the same time Munster will be back in action too.
Schmidt is likely to call on at least one of Munster's tightheads and Scott wants to be there to stake a claim for the red jersey when numbers are reduced in Limerick.
"I just want to get back for the first week of pre-season, and the physios and S&C coaches are managing getting me back for that," said Scott.
"I have to get used to walking and then running. All going well I will hopefully be back for the end of the May. But I won't be match-ready for the end of this season.
"This pre-season is a big one for a lot of players, there are opportunities with players being called into camp. I will take a bit of break. I will go on holidays and enjoy that side of it. But when I come back I will be back into training to prepare myself for the season.
"It's an incredible opportunity, they come around every four years. A lot of the time you see guys making it in that period. Players get their opportunities during it so you have to be ready.
"You just have to train hard enough and put yourself in the best possible place to be able to take that on.
"It is an important place for us and the club, progressing players on as well, especially the academy lads, it's good to get them through.
"I just look forward to the challenge. Whoever is picked is picked at the end of the day, I just have to concentrate on what I have to do. There is a lot of things that I have to work on in my game.
"I just need to concentrate on myself and not really think about competition. At the end of the day we are all playing for Munster, and trying to get the wins on the board for Munster."
Scott lives in Castletroy along with young loosehead Liam O'Connor, and both housemates could have a big say in Munster's future.
But it's all about staying mentally strong in the interim, and with rehab the only outlet for Scott right now, that will be the major challenge.
However, he has a good head on his young shoulders and knows the chances are right around the corner, while he can continue to make his own little adjustments to return a better player. His short-term future may involve long hours in the gym, but the work he can bank in the meantime will stand him in good stead.
His three appearances this season can be chalked off, before he starts afresh with opportunity knocking.
"It is disappointing not to have played more, it was a slow season for me," said Scott.
"I thought I had a good pre-season and then just the way things fell, I didn't get as much of an opportunity as I would have liked.
"There are things I can improve on in my game there. I am not going to look for excuses. I just want to go and try fix the things that can help me progress.
"It is a good opportunity for me to go and do that."