"Feels like home": White returns to Canberra

· Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Originally published on RUGBY.com.au

It's been more than five years since Nic White donned Brumbies colours but on week one back in Canberra he already feels right at home.

White returned to training with the Brumbies on Monday after finishing a stint with English side Exeter and though he hasn't played in the ACT since 2015, little has changed for him.

"It feels as if I never left," he said.

"Everyone's been really welcoming, it feels like home.

"They used to be the quiet boys and now they're the big dogs, Allan (Alaalatoa), Scotty (Sio), Locky (McCaffrey).

"Having those guys around, it feels really comfortable to slide back in so they've been welcoming here which is good, I'm sure I'll get hazed this weekend at some stage but so far so good."

White was always planning to be playing in Australia this year, signing a deal with the Brumbies to kick off in 2021.

His comeback has come a little sooner than planned in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Premiership season shut down in March.

White left England to come back to Australia last month after the birth of his second son, Sonny.

Sonny's arrival made their return somewhat complicated, with the youngster requiring a passport and citizenship.

The 30-year-old is eligible to play in Super Rugby AU immediately but said he was in no rush to force his way into the team.

Had 2020 played out as planned, White's arrival would have come after the Super Rugby season so any provincial outings are a bonus, he said.

"I'm going to play whatever role I have to play, today was running on the wing," he said.

"I'm going to have to catch back up to speed a little bit.

"Super Rugby would have been finished by the time I got back so there's no expectation from my end to come in and play.

"There's the opportunity to do that in the back end at some point, I'd love to but for now i'm just happy to be able to run around with the boys.

"That's quite nice.

"I haven't had those conversations (about playing Super Rugby AU) so I'll be training and if the opportunity comes I'd love to but at the same time they've got a full squad and I understand that'll be quite hard on some guys."

White said he was confident his fitness would be up to scratch after being permitted to do limited exercise during England's lockdown but he was working his way back into contact training.

"I am back training. We were allowed out for an hour a day," he said.

"I'm certainly plenty running fit, the gym's going to hurt maybe for a week or two but I feel pretty fit and maybe the contact, not that I do a whole lot might take a little while but I feel like I'm not far off in that regard.

"I'll ease back in and just listen to the body and I'd like to think I'm a little bit older and mature and look after myself in that regard, I don't come back from big time off a few kilos heavier like some of the other boys."

White returns to a fairly uncertain future in Australian rugby but said the lack of clarity around the form of Super Rugby in 2021 wasn't something he was overly worried by.

"Certainly takes up a little bit of space thinking about it but in terms of changing my plans of coming home not at all," he said.

"At the end of the day, those discussions are well above my head...They're conversations for the big wigs up top, my job as a rugby player to just play rugby so we've got this Super AU competition and if I get a chance to lace them up, how good?"

The Brumbies take on the Force on Saturday July 25 at Leichhardt Oval, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy tickets here. Buy a Kayo subscription here.

This article was originally published on RUGBY.com.au.