August 12, 2019

Gallagher Chief Tiaan Falcon puts injury time to good use

Gallagher Chiefs first five-eighths Tiaan Falcon might have been through the injury mill in 2019 but he has put his time to good use.

He ruptured his Achilles tendon in January and then had a major shoulder operation in April and he has been running for nearly a month and his shoulder was feeling good, although it had been a long process of recovery.

He has been set a return time in mid-October and will be set to go into pre-season Super Rugby training with the Chiefs in December.

Falcon said having suffered his Achilles injury so early in the year meant he was able to fill in his time by going to Waikato University and doing two papers during the first semester. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays he was a fulltime university student while on Mondays he would pop into the Gallagher Chiefs HQ to meetings.

He's studying for a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology.

"It's pretty interesting how the mind works, and I'll be keen to be a sports psychologist myself when I get older," he said.

The shoulder surgery was necessary after suffering an injury in the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato last year which ended his season. The original intention had been to rehab the shoulder and play on with it this year, but the Achilles injury had provided the chance to get the surgery done on his shoulder so he would be fully fit when returning.

Falcon said he didn't really worry about the lost opportunity when Damian McKenzie was lost for the season, something that had he been fit he could have expected more game time.

"This year would have been a good year, but injuries are all part of the game. Everyone gets injured so I've just got to make sure my body is right and my mind is right for when I get back in December," he said.

Support had been provided from the Gallagher Chiefs and he had spoken several times with the side's sports psychologist Dave Galbraith about keeping perspective and appreciating that he was in a special position as a professional rugby player and taking the time to make this year the best that he could.

Sitting back and watching games could be a strain for some, but Falcon took the chance to look at games as if he was playing so that when he returns the game didn't feel so foreign to him.

"It's just analysing things and staying in the right mindset for games. It is a different outlook but something I hope to take full advantage of when I come back," he said.

Gallagher Chief Tiaan Falcon puts injury time to good use