Ryan Hampshire on what’s next after ’emotional’ comeback
It was an emotional yet heartwarming return to action for Ryan Hampshire, who played his first competitive match in 11 months on Saturday.
The 28-year-old made his second debut for Wigan at the weekend he helped the Warriors reach the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with an 18-14 win at Leeds.
It was his first competitive game in almost a year, with Hampshire suffering an ACL injury whilst playing for Castleford last June.
A couple of surgeries later and a long road to recovery in rehabilitation, it was all worth it for Hampshire as he made his return for Wigan, the place where his professional career begun.
“I was actually really emotional at the end and I just had to keep it together,” Hampshire said.
“Seeing my family at the end who helped me come back from the injury and with a couple of staff members here who have known the road I’ve been on.
“From the conversations I had with them at the end, they could see I was holding back a little bit so it is just a massive relief to be back and thrown straight in the deep end in a tough game like that.
“A few people said to me ‘just take it all in’. I was a little bit nervous before the game on Saturday but the closer it came it wore off.
“As soon as I went on the pitch and put some work in, that’s when the anxieties of everything in the past went away”
“The players really helped me through the game on Saturday and it is just good to be playing with world class players. I’m not even exaggerating, they are world class players and your game improves when you’re with them. It’s my first game in nearly a year, so there’s a lot more improvement in me yet.
“The intensity of that game was up there and I don’t think there will be many more with the intensity of that so I think I got the hardest bit out of the way. I’m a bit sore these last few days but I’m sure I’ll be ready for Thursday.”
Ryan Hampshire: I wanted to come back stronger for my family
Hampshire admitted that it would have been selfish for him to just walk away from rugby league after suffering his ACL rupture – but wanted to comeback not just for himself, but his family and those closest to him.
He added: “Coming back from the injury, I had to think about my family as well, it wasn’t just about me.
“I had to come back for them who’ve spent a long time since I was a kid in getting me into the position I’m in, so giving in would have been very selfish on my part and not coming back for them, so a lot about coming back was for them.”
What are his goals for the rest of the season then?
“Just playing every week,” Hampshire told Love Rugby League.
“I’m not really looking too far ahead, I’m just concentrating on each day.
“Obviously I can play a few positions so if the team needs me to do that, then I’m more than happy to do that so just to cement a place who plays every week, not just maybe one place.”
Next up for Hampshire and Wigan is a trip to Hull KR in Thursday’s televised clash.
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