Josh Poysden’s return to fitness following his summer head injury has taken a crucial step in an unusual environment, as you may have guessed had you been eagle-eyed when watching Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand.
Poysden is currently holidaying in Tokyo, where his fiancee Caitlin is on secondment for six months as she nears the end of her law traineeship.
The pair, who got engaged in August, were caught on camera dancing in the crowd as England steamrollered the All Blacks 19-7 to reach this Saturday’s final against South Africa in Yokohama.
“We didn’t actually have tickets until about an hour and a half before the game,” explained leg-spinner Poysden.
“We were trying to think of ways to get tickets, but we were struggling. So we decided to go to the ground anyway, and we were asking around for spares.
“We made a sign asking for tickets, and luckily we managed to get two at face value.
“Then, it was just an amazing experience.
“My rugby knowledge is fairly limited, but I love sport in general.
“I played a couple of games when I was at school, but I’m not built for rugby – more leg-spin!
“To be at a World Cup semi-final witnessing the Haka and then the performance England put in, it was pretty special. The way they played was brilliant.
“To be that good under the pressure of a World Cup semi-final, it really adds to the appreciation.”
He continued: “We looked up at the big screen and saw ourselves, and I wondered whether it would be on TV. Then my phone went mental.
“It’s been funny seeing some of the messages.
“A lot of people having been concerned that my head injury’s caused some permanent damage with the way I was dancing!”
Poysden has been in Japan for approximately three weeks – just before Typhoon Hagibis struck – but flies home on Saturday.
“I’m flying home on the morning of the final, which isn’t ideal. I booked my flights to come out here fairly last minute, and the rugby being on made that quite hard. It’s not really a surprise that the best prices are on the morning of the final.
“But hopefully they go on and win it. To win two World Cups in the same year would be pretty unprecedented for our country I would imagine off the top of my head.”
The 28-year-old suffered a fractured skull in late July having been struck by a ball in the nets at Emerald Headingley.
He missed the rest of the season, and his return to health and fitness has been carefully managed since.
His recovery has certainly not been at the speed of one of Tokyo’s famous bullet trains, but it is great to hear that things are heading in the right direction ahead of 2020.
“Everything’s fine,” he added. “I’ve been given the green light to start training again, which I’ve been doing whilst I’m here.
“I’ve been back in the gym. There’s one in the building where Caitlin’s staying.
“The reason I’m flying back on Saturday is that I’m starting training at Yorkshire on Monday. Although the lads don’t start back until mid-November, I’m going to give myself a couple of weeks head start.
“I’ll get back bowling and working with the coaches and the medical and strength and conditioning staff to give myself every chance to get ready for next year.”