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Scully’s coming off of a torn Achilles tendon suffered last March. Durutalo is just over six months removed from tearing his ACL. Both injuries took place in scrimmages at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Scully moved back to the Bay Area and trained at his alma mater, Cal. Durutalo did the vast majority of his recovery at the OTC.
“I’ve just always been on the sideline just helping them out, bringing water, just doing some of the stuff, like the gym stuff” said Durutalo of his recovery period. “I would be able to do upper body lifts and then I just really concentrated on my rehab.”
They kept their eyes on how their teammates were doing, Durutalo from up close and Scully from afar, and when the team was struggling in Australia and Dubai, the losses were suffered back home, too.
“It was really tough because you know you could have helped out in some way or the other. But then you go out and you just give it all in rehab and just try and make the best of it,” Durutalo said.
“It’s always tough to watch. A competitive athlete always wants to be playing, always wants to be part of the team he trains with,” added Scully.
“But I’m back now, and that was kind of water under the bridge for me. All I could do was get better every day, continue to get stronger, continue to get fitter so I could put myself in a position to come back for the team.”
The returns of Durutalo and Scully bolster what has been an area of relative weakness for the Eagles – the scrum. Both are expected to factor into selection rather quickly, and along with Matt Hawkins, Zack Test, Colin Hawley and Brett Thompson, create a pretty large stable of capable forwards. But, says coach Alex Magleby, Scully may have to be slowly reintroduced to the game field.
“Certainly, on the field, [Scully’s] a great leader. He’s had a great rugby education, he’s performed in test match rugby, so it’s great to have him back,” said Magleby.
“For him, it’s how quickly do we get him on the field? Do we rush him into
a game? He hasn’t played [7s] since the Pan Am Games more than year ago,
almost a year-and-a-half ago. How do we get him those on-field reps so he
can start developing his decision-making under pressure [and] his
confidence in that? So it’s really good to have him back, but there’s still
a process there.”