In UL yesterday, for the first time since then, to his great credit, he managed to put a brave face on things. â00I've torn a ligament in my foot, a ligament that stabilises the foot. Until it stabilises I'll be out of action. I'm seeing a specialist next week in London so after that I'll have a clearer picture hopefully."
His memory of the incident is still crystal clear. â00Well I heard a bit of a crunch alright and immediately thought, 'Oh jeez here we go again.' When I stood up I could take the weight but when I went to actually produce a bit of force off it I couldn't. I knew straight away it wasn't good news. Ok there was a glimmer of hope I suppose until it was further examined. But ah yeh, I knew in my own head my World Cup that was it.â0
Taken straight to hospital where his worse fears were confirmed he ended up in a boot and back to the family home. â00I spent the week in Dublin with family and friends and my girlfriend. I was certainly in my own little world for the first few days and I'm sure it was hard enough for them to bear me. I wasn't much craic.â0 He says quietly.
â00But I'm kinda coming out of it.â0 And then his face brightening â00It's great to come down here, cause you can't feel too sorry for yourself, the lads won't let you. The slagging has started already. Marcus and Hayes were the first two I met, I barely said hello, and they're already giving me grief. It'll be Wally's turn next week so I'll have to join in there and get the heat off myself.â0
Images of the Rugby World Cup squad he should have been a part of landing in New Zealand filled the morning newspapers acting as a cruel reminder of what might have been. â00Yeh, I still have to come to terms now with the next couple of weeks. I think it'll be tough now watching the games."
â00From a personal view, you're torn y'know because I want the team to succeed. I really do wish them the best but at the same time you really want to be out there. You prepared for so long to be out there. It'll be a tough one to watch but at the same time you're in full support of what's happening."
"I've been down this road before I suppose" he says with a slight shake of the head. "It never gets any easier is what I'd say. It's just the same thing again. It's a new challenge. I just have to hit it head-on and tackle every day as it comes."
Admitting to being, "normally a very optimistic type", he ruefully agrees that he's been "tested a lot in the recent past".
â00"But look people are tested in all walks of life, every day. In my case it's part and parcel of the game. I've had a lot of advice on how to deal with it. How you react to these tests determines your character."