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'You’re in a bit of a hole, a bit angry at the situation' – Ringrose looking to put injury woes behind him

The Leinster centre suffered a number of injury setbacks last season.

Leinster centre Garry Ringrose.
Leinster centre Garry Ringrose.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated Sep 16th 2021, 8:31 AM

NOT A WHOLE lot went to plan for Garry Ringrose last season.

The Leinster centre broke his jaw against Italy last October and then cracked it again just before Christmas. He made it back in time for the Six Nations only to end up facing another six weeks on the sideline after suffering an ankle problem in Ireland’s win over Scotland. And having missed out on selection for the Lions, a season of bad luck was capped off by a shoulder problem which saw him sit out Ireland’s summer Tests.

All told, he featured just 10 times for Leinster, his lowest return since making his debut for the province back in 2015.

“It was unlucky I guess, probably a couple of years’ worth of injuries squeezed into the one season but that’s just kind of how it goes, it’s the nature of the beast unfortunately,” Ringrose says.

“It was frustrating. For each of them, they were all kind of broken bones really which is just unlucky, I wasn’t left wondering was it something I could have done differently in preparation. You just kind of deal with it, you’ve 24 or 48 hours to get the head right and then kick on and reset the focus to rehab and get back.

“Certainly in the immediate, you’re in a bit of a hole, probably a bit angry at the situation, a bit upset by it but thankfully I’ve people close around me that are incredibly helpful and supportive, family and friends, and then the guys at Leinster, the medical team, they kind of helped me through that initial bit and then it’s reset, set new targets and kick on from there.” 

garry-ringrose Ringrose played just 10 games for Leinster last season. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The 26-year-old has yet to fully leave those injury woes behind him.

Ringrose was speaking at the launch of the new United Rugby Championship season yesterday – with RTÉ and TG4 both providing free-to-air coverage throughout the season – but he’ll sit out Leinster’s opening game against the Bulls at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday as he continues to work his way back from that shoulder issue, with no set date in mind for his return just yet.

“I had an IKD, it’s kind of like a shoulder strength test in Santry on Monday and it actually went pretty well,” he continues.

I’d kind of done some light contact stuff prior to that but now the numbers check out so it’s ramp up the contacts and impacts and hopefully be back soon. I’ve a few markers to hit this week which will give a clear indication when I can be back playing. Hopefully it’s not too far.”

With no summer tour to keep him busy and injury restricting his training load, pre-season had a very different look.

“I was able to take two weeks off to myself, where I was able to do pretty simplistic rehab, stuff that I could monitor and do myself, then the physios and medics would be on Zoom or whatever.

“They were able to catch up on progress and then I was back in for more training. Then I was able to go away for two weeks, came back, running loads, lifting loads and trying to improve my skills.

“Kieran Hallet and Denis Leamy were helping the injured guys with their skills in the gym, guys who couldn’t make it out onto the pitch. I was trying to progress things like that and thankfully I was able to get back training about two weeks ago. I was in a bib at the start, I’m now trying to leave the bib on the sideline and progress things and push on. Hopefully it keeps trending that way.”

The new URC competition will present different challenges to Leinster, who welcome Currie Cup champions the Bulls to Dublin next weekend.

It will also see the introduction of the new 50:22 rule, where if a player kicks from inside their half and the ball bounces before going into touch inside the opposition 22, the attacking team will be awarded the throw at the lineout – a handy weapon for teams with capable kickers in their backline.

“It’s cool. It will be interesting to see whether it changes things much,” Ringrose says.

“I know from it being introduced in Australia last season it was kind of one of those things that was talked about loads but then it didn’t happen as frequently in games as one would have thought.

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“But there are definitely moments when it comes into play a bit more, whether it’s a midfield scrum that is just inside the half, as a fullback you are vulnerable back there because it opens up both corners.

So it will be interesting to see what happens there, whether guys come out of the front line a bit more, which will encourage maybe a bit more running rugby if there is an opportunity or space there, off exits as well there are opportunities if you can run out and then put in a kick, how it can swing a game or turn a game on it’s head pretty quickly.

“In the (pre-season) game against Harlequins we got one or two and it’s really good, a good momentum booster. I don’t think Harlequins got one on us but there was one kick that would have got us, but just on the firm pitch the ball popped up and was gathered. But it was interesting having a discussion saying what we would have done if that had gone out and what the mentality was or how to approach it. 

“It will be interesting to see if we can manufacture stuff to use it to our favour. But then equally, we have got to protect our house a bit and making sure we are not vulnerable to it at the same time. So, it’s giving us challenges on both sides of it.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time (for the squad), I think everyone can’t wait for it to kick-off. At the same time, we have the Bulls coming here, who are the in-form team. Looking at some of their tape over the last five or six games they played, they scored 40-odd points.

“They won the South African league over there, so in terms of challenges, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. That has everyone excited for what’s ahead.” 

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Ciarán Kennedy

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