Managing your body is one aspect of life every professional player is familiar with. It is particularly important to get into the routine of doing so during preseason. It's something which only hit home with me when I graduated from the academy and was exposed to a far more rigorous training regime. The vast majority of us will spend time recovering in the pool two or three times a week. We also ensure that we see one of our soft tissue therapists on at least one occasion. In Limerick, Paul McMahon and Angela Hogan have been working with Munster Rugby since before I entered the sub academy in 2010. Their value is sometimes overlooked by those who don't realise what a crucial role they play in the physical wellbeing of the squad. Few players would argue with the notion that they are as important as the physios themselves and we greatly appreciate being able to utilise their services. Paul coined the nickname 'Paul Bald' for himself some years ago, for obvious reasons. Fortunately his thumbs are far tougher than his hairline ever was and they have made us all suffer at some stage.
As planned, the first batch of international tourists began their first week of preseason on Monday. They will work off a slightly modified schedule for the next couple of weeks as they are gradually integrated back into the full preseason programme. The return of hugely experienced individuals such as Paul O' Connell and Damien Varley is hugely beneficial to the dynamic of the squad and the benefits could be felt immediately. This week also saw us welcome the second of our new arrivals for the coming season, Robin Copeland. The Wexford native joins us after a highly impressive period at Cardiff Blues and we look forward to helping him settle into life in Limerick. The first new arrival was Kildare man Dr Martin Kelly. No, that isn't a nickname that he has managed to earn in the past three weeks - Martin worked as a doctor in in Dublin for the past year. In what must be a rare occurrence, Martin is taking a break from practising medicine to take up the offer of a contract with Munster. His presence will surely increase the squad IQ level a few digits - badly needed!
Once again, the past week was a very productive one for me personally. From a physiological point of view, my shoulder is fully healed. All that remains is for its strength and mobility to improve to a degree where I can confidently set foot on the playing pitch. Numbers which I would have been lifting prior to my surgery are visible on the horizon and suddenly don't seem so far away. Although it pays to be cautious with an incident free period of recovery such as this, I hope to have more good news to report to you next week.
Duncan's Diary - Week 2
Duncan's Diary - Week 1