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'Pissed off' Payne putting injury frustration behind him

The Ulster back suffered a torn hamstring and quad after playing on with injury against France.

JARED PAYNE ISN’T one to accept an injury lightly.

After the defeat away to France, Joe Schmidt was quick to praise his fellow Irish Kiwi for struggling through most of the second half ‘on one leg.’

Jared Payne Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Sean O’Brien and Dave Kearney had already been forced off injured and Schmidt was reluctant to throw Ian Madigan into the centre, so Payne was left to lynch-pin the back line.

“There were a few boys dropping left, right and centre in the backs, so we all knew you had just got to hold on and try and make it if you could,” the Ulster man said of the Paris defeat.

“I could still run, striding out would have been an interesting one, but if I completely couldn’t run I would have had to come off.”

As a consequence, the 30-year-old spent the following fortnight rehabbing a torn quad and hamstring muscle. Even then, when confirmation came that he was not to be risked in Twickenham, he choked the news down.

You can’t complain too much, you get pissed off that you’re not playing, but you’ve just got to go about what you can to rehab yourself and get yourself right. You can’t push yourself too hard.

“You’ve always got to be honest with your coaches, you’ve got to tell them where you think you’re physically at, and if you don’t think you can do a job you can’t bluff your way through a Test match.

“You don’t want to let the rest of the team down so it’s important you’re honest with the coaching team and they can make their coaching decisions from there.”

Jared Payne Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It took until last week for Payne to prove his fitness for the remaining rounds of the Championship. The ominous medical report remarked that Payne had done a full training session, but separate from the squad.

“I got off easy I think, the boys got it tougher than me,” the Kiwi joked.

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“I got to stay on the side and do a few lengths while the boys were really put through their paces. They boys were really worked hard.”

“It’s frustrating getting injured but I was looked after well, everything’s good now. I trained today fully and hopefully I can kick on for the rest of the week.

Jonathan Danty supported by Teddy Thomas tackled by Jared Payne Payne getting to grips with Teddy Thomas in Paris. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“It’s nice to have something to work towards and try to get picked for. It’s better to be out there working with the lads rather than working.”

As for which position he will be plying his trade in this Saturday, Payne was as non-committal as ever. He offered little more than a knowing smile with each query around specifics of a centre or fullback. However, he did admit Schmidt “would be silly not to” test a McCloskey-Henshaw midfield again and went coy when asked about the prospect of setting up opposite Michele Campagnaro.

“I might do… whoever marshals him will have their work cut out and it will be tough. He’s probably been the form 13 throughout the Six Nations I think. He’s very quick and quite surprisingly strong, so whoever’s got the job of looking after him will have a tough day.”

Hopefully, not quite as tough as Payne’s last outing.

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Sean Farrell

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