BRISBANE — It only took 13 years, 12 000km and two major surgeries, but injured Brumbies star David Pocock has run into an old school friend from Zimbabwe — she works in the Brisbane hospital, where he’s just had a knee reconstruction.
Pocock’s season was ended early by injury for the second year in a row and he underwent a knee reconstruction in Brisbane hospital this week.
But in a surprise twist, he knows Wongani Silo from his childhood growing up in Zimbabwe and she’s now working in the Brisbane hospital where he’s recovering after surgery.
The pair went to school together at the Midlands Christian School in Gweru in Form 1 — 13 years ago.
Pocock tweeted a photo of the chance reunion yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, Canberra Raiders skipper Terry Campese has backed Pocock to bounce back strongly from a second knee reconstruction, revealing he hopes to talk to the ACT Brumbies star on what helped him overcome the same adversity.
Campese can relate to the luckless Pocock’s plight better than most after he missed almost two NRL seasons with back-to-back busted anterior cruciate ligaments.
Pocock faces a similar nightmare after undergoing his second knee reconstruction in 12 months on Wednesday, cutting his Super Rugby season short after only two games.
Having gone through the same ordeal, Campese enjoyed an injury-free season last year and rates himself the fittest he’s ever been ahead of Saturday’s season-opener against North Queensland.
The 29-year-old sought counsel from Cowboys centre Brent Tate after his second reconstruction, and rates his advice and inspiration a vital weapon in his recovery.
He said he’s willing to return the favour for Pocock and wants to reassure him there’s no reason he can’t also overcome his demons.
“I guess (I’d say) that he can still come back better than ever,” Campese said.
“I know how he feels and I was shattered myself when I found out the news, and he’d be feeling exactly the same.
“He’s still only a young guy with a huge future, I know the hard work he put into his rehab the first time, and he’ll definitely do it again.
“There’s no reason why he won’t be back in the position he deserves to be and that’s the best back rower in the game.”
The situation is similar to Campese’s, who initially thought he’d only be sidelined a few weeks after limping off against Brisbane early in the 2012 season.
Initial diagnosis rated Pocock a chance to play against Wellington Hurricanes on Friday after going down against Western Force last week, only for further scans to confirm the worst possible news.
“The second time around it’s a little harder to see (on scans), that was the situation with mine,” Campese said.
“It was probably the hardest thing, just thinking you’re going in for a minor operation and it ended up being worse.
“The things that went through my mind was every bad scenario possible, having a young family to support and not knowing what the future held.
“I rang Brent Tate and had a chat, everyone was saying he’d never play again, but he came back and played Origin and Tests.
“The physios and doctors gave me belief, talking to Brent gave me positives to look at.
“I’m sure David will look at the guys who have come out the other side and know there’s still a lot of football ahead of him.”
Campese said Pocock will find game days the toughest to cope with, particularly as the Super Rugby season is in its infancy.
He also said the fact Pocock knows the grind ahead of him could make his second bout of rehabilitation tougher.
“There’s definitely sacrifices you have to take and sometimes it is harder knowing you’ve still got so many steps to take before you start running and start playing,” Campese said.
“Knowing the road ahead is a slow process, nine months of building that leg back up and doing extra training when the boys are going for lunch or having a few beers.
“He’s in similar circumstances and all the Raiders boys and the club is definitely behind him, and wish him well.
“I definitely know he’ll be back for the Brumbies next season.”