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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Ruddock on track to provide Leinster with boost for Champions Cup quarter-final

The flanker has been sidelined since December but is making good progress.

RHYS RUDDOCK IS ahead of schedule in his comeback from a serious hamstring injury and fears he would miss the rest of the season have eased, with the flanker now targeting a return in a number of weeks, rather than months.

Rhys Ruddock leaves the field due to injury Ruddock suffered the injury at Sandy Park back in December. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Leinster back row suffered a Grade 3 hamstring tear in the province’s Champions Cup win over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in early December, and after surgery to repair the damage, has responded well to the initial stages of rehabilitation.

While coy on setting out a definite return date, and highlighting that a number of markers still need to be hit, the 27-year-old could provide Leinster a boost by being back and available in time for the Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens on 1 April.

Ruddock has yet to resume full running but has made good progress in recent weeks while working with Leinster’s medical team and his rehab programme will now focus on mechanical and conditioning work ahead of his return to contact sessions.

“It’s really good, a little bit quicker than I thought to be honest which is positive,” he told The42 this morning.

“I still have a lot of work to get done to get back on the field but I’m hoping everything goes as smoothly as the last few months and if so I could be back in a number of weeks as opposed to months. It’s positive at the moment.

“The first batch of the rehab has gone really well, and so far, so good. I’m ahead of schedule. I’d say I will definitely be fit before the end of the season.

“Just a case of how long depending on how the next few weeks go but yeah more than likely be fit before the end of the season. I’d be confident about that.”

Ruddock added that the best case scenario would be a mid-March return, giving him time to build minutes up again before Leo Cullen’s side welcome Saracens to the Aviva Stadium on Easter Sunday.

The injury setback couldn’t have come at a more unfortunate time for the 19-time capped Ireland international, who had been in a rich vein of form for club and country and would most certainly have played a big role in the current Six Nations campaign.

Rhys Ruddock Ruddock this morning launched Rugby Players Ireland and Zurich's new Tackle Your Feelings app. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ruddock captained Ireland during the summer tour of USA/Japan and featured in all three of the November internationals, before suffering the injury during Leinster’s 18-8 pool victory at Sandy Park.

“It probably was a bit [cruel],” he added. “I was trying to poach a ball and I got hit at an awkward angle by one player and pretty much immediately after got hit by a second player in a clean out.

“Whatever way it just put me in a compromised position and probably a position if you tried to get yourself into you couldn’t do it again. Just unfortunate really. It wasn’t a running injury where you could say there was a way to prevent it. An unfortunate one but everything so far — the surgery and the repair — have all been positive.

“I told the physio exactly what happened when he came on; ‘I’ve pulled my hamstring, I felt it pop off’ so it was pretty obvious. It wasn’t actually the most painful thing but whatever it was, the sensation was something I’ve never felt.

“I could just feel exactly where it was and that it was up the top of my leg. I kind of knew what it was and it was confirmed when they had a look at me inside. Kind of knew roughly what had happened and I suppose that helped me come to terms with it pretty quickly as opposed to waiting around for scans.

“I already knew the road I was about to go down — but it’s all been positive and hopefully I’ll be back within a number of weeks now.”

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Ryan Bailey

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