John Barclay has spent the summer coping with a combination of agony and boredom – the new Edinburgh flanker admits he is ready to put that behind him.
A torn Achilles in May put an end to his Scarlets career in premature fashion, leaving the Scotland skipper with a long road to recovery.
That has involved a spell where he had to keep his foot elevated for 50 minutes for every hour with Barclay forced to keep himself busy with house renovation and university work immediately after his operation.
“I had the operation 12 weeks ago,” Barclay explained.
“It’s a slow one. I knew of people who had ruptured their Achilles but I didn’t really understand the ins and outs and just how you strong you need to get that tendon to function again at the level you need it to.
“There’s a lot of work going in to get it to the level it needs to be.
“I’m walking, there’s no sign of running any time soon, I might try running in a couple of months if everything goes smoothly.
“I’m in the gym every day doing weights, upper body and lower body, I’m on the bike and there’s conditioning on various different things, there’s rehab and physio so I’m definitely busy but not doing the thing I’d like to be doing or want to be.
“It was a pretty tedious few weeks, keeping my leg up 50 minutes an hour. It wasn’t even that I had to do it, it was just if I didn’t I was in so much pain that I could not move. I just couldn’t move for weeks and weeks and weeks.
“I’m not really a gamer and I don’t watch a lot of TV. I’ve got my three kids so it was torture for me, I had to twiddle my thumbs for a few weeks. I renovated my house and spoke to builders for weeks on end and had my dissertation. It was busy but I’d have rather not done that.”
Barclay’s return target remains the Six Nations but doing that with Scotland will involve getting back on the park with Edinburgh sooner.
While he will not be able to contribute immediately, Barclay is joining an Edinburgh side that flourished in its first season under Richard Cockerill.
Having come from the Scarlets, who reached each of the last two Guinness PRO14 finals, winning the first, Barclay has plenty of experience of club success. And he has been impressed by the standard shown in the early weeks in the Scottish capital.
He added: “I’ve not been that surprised coming in but if I had to say something perhaps how hard they have been working.
“Every team works hard but I don’t think I’ve seen a group worker harder on the pitch and off the pitch.
“There’s a collective focus and a buy-in where they have had enough of being in the doldrums and the bottom of the table.
“There’s a real desire for that not to happen. Sometimes you see people who say ‘I want to be better’ but here you can really see people are actually putting plans into action, sticking to them and trying to improve.”
Mitsubishi Motors is proud to support Edinburgh Rugby and welcome John Barclay as an Official Mitsubishi Motors ambassador