Sep 06, 2017
Rhodes reflects on his journey to recovery
Ahead of his first full start since leaving the Premiership semi-final with a shoulder injury, Michael Rhodes reflected on a summer of heartbreak and rehab.
The flanker underwent rare collarbone surgery that fused bone taken from his hip with the damaged area, and put a metal plate into the South African’s shoulder. It put an end to a season in which he was in career form.
After coming on for 20-minutes last week, Rhodes now starts at six against Bath.
On his full return, he said: “You’re going to have pain whether you sit out for six months or a year. So, it’s just about getting that game ‘hardness’, or whatever you would like to call it, and getting back into it.
“Games tend to be the best thing when you reach a certain point, because you aren’t focused on it when you are playing, your mind is on different things, so you are not worried about it holding you back. Whereas in training you may sometimes be a bit tentative going into contact.”
The Rec is a notoriously tough ground to visit, and facing a Bath back row of Francois Louw, Taulupe Faletau, and Matt Garvey; Rhodes’ recovery will certainly be put to the test.
“They are a very physical back row, a physical pack.” Rhodes said. “It will be a good test and something I’m looking forward to. I think the game is the best place to test it out, get your mind off things, and just get stuck in.”
Since joining Saracens in 2015, Rhodes has become a crucial cog in the Men in Black’s machine, firmly making his presence felt on Saracens’ blindside. In only two seasons he has made 32 appearances, and was voted players’ player by his teammates after the 2016/17 campaign.
Coming off the bench last week, he got his feet wet as Sarries rolled over the Northampton Saints. Though Rhodes is wary of counting Saracens chickens with the fast start.
He said: “We were as surprised as anyone how it went, to be up 41-3 at halftime. It’s something we weren’t expecting at all, but obviously a nice way to start.”
You can catch Saracens round-2 action live on BT Sport, and make sure you are following all our social media channels including Instagram (@saracensofficial), Facebook (@saracensofficial), Twitter (@Saracens), and Snapchat (@saracensrugby), for behind the scenes content from the Rec.