Rugby's Robyn Lock talks of her dream debut for Wales just five years after being diagnosed with cancer

Lock earned her first cap for her country at the weekend - five years after her cancer diagnosis (Wales Rugby Twitter)
11:43am, Wed 06 Nov 2019
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Rugby star Robyn Lock has spoken about making her debut for Wales - five years after being told she had cancer.

Now 26, she played in the weekend defeat to Spain, the pinnacle of a career that looked in jeopardy just a few years ago.

She said: "I was sat in Singleton Hospital in Swansea when the doctor told me I had been diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“It had been in my lymphatic system but had also spread to my lungs.

"The symptoms by that stage were not being able to breathe, not being able to sleep, I couldn’t walk 10 metres and I couldn’t go upstairs.

“When I was initially diagnosed it was like I wasn’t there, it was as if I was looking in from the outside," she told Wales Online.

Lock added: “I had to have a lymph node removed and a biopsy from my neck under local anaesthetic, which wasn’t pleasant.

“I had a course of steroids to get me ready for chemotherapy and blood tests to make sure I could have chemo.”

Despite the diagnosis, Lock remained resilient and determined to get better.

She added: “My attitude was the sooner I started having treatment the sooner I would get better. In terms of my situation and circumstances I felt it could have been a lot worse.

“We have got the NHS and I was looked after by it immediately. My prognosis was really good, I was fit and young and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is probably one of the better forms of cancer you can have."

Lock was back on the pitch last season with Ospreys and now she has broken through at international level she hopes that her story can inspire others.

“With getting my first cap for Wales, it’s like a circle has been completed and I have got closure.

“Having rugby to focus on was vital for me – getting into the Ospreys squad was a target and being named player of the year last year was a huge honour. I thought then if I don’t go any further in the game I’m happy with what I’ve done.

“However, playing for Wales has always been in the back of my mind. I watched my Swansea team-mates in the Six Nations, we followed them to the World Cup in Ireland, so to have the opportunity five years post-diagnosis, to be part of the squad is really special.

“If someone had said that in five years I’d be sat in the Vale (Wales headquarters) in Welsh kit I’m not sure I’d have believed them, but it’s amazing.”

Lock says her eyes are now firmly on Wales' game against The Barbarians, the first time the two sides have played each other.

“My initial goal was to get a cap; my next is to get in the squad for the match with the Baa-baas. That would be amazing."