13 Dec, 15:36
Arsenal stars Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil have shown their support for Munster ahead of tomorrow's Heineken Cup clash with Perpignan.
"When you're out of the loop like that it's a very lonely place. You're competing against yourself every day. There's no end to the week. They roll into each other, just constantly training. I went from not being able to lift my arm, not able to tie my shoelaces or button my shirt and basically it was small wins every day. Basically climbing the wall like the incy wincey spider. It was very frustrating really but the gloomy attitude thankfully lasted only about a week."
"That was because of the fantastic help I got, from Brian Greene up in the IRFU, from Ant Coole and Neil Tucker down here in Munster everyone was very very supportive. It's amazing what positive talk can do. I definitely got fantastic treatment here in Ireland."
The hours of rehab that followed were lightened by the company. "I suppose if there was an upside from my point of view, not his - was that Leamy was injured as well. He was a good comrade to have to drive each other on every day. We were so enthusiastic. It really was very positive to have him there alongside me. I think we both fed off each other and there was Darragh Hurley as well (eye injury). We all pulled together helped each other out."
If there was another thing the injury did for Ryan it was to bring what he calls clarity to his life. "It (injury) was a sobering incident but a good wake up call. I suppose what it did was give me a moment of clarity. Made me realize this (rugby) does not last forever. I realized I could be out of a job and it forced me to get my act together to do something to progress a career post-rugby."
Already with a degree in Commerce and Irish, he has a mind to work towards Primary Teaching as a consideration when the rugby career finishes, although he hopes, "thats won't be for many years yet."
And now as he looks to get back to where he was the question of where he considers his best position arises. "Look I've no preference, stick me on the wing or scrum-half or wherever. Ah no I wouldn't have the skills they have."
"When you have the quality of lock we have here - Paul, Donncha, Micko - I sat down and said I really want to play with Munster. How am I going to do that?"
"So basically I had to re-invent myself. Realised there's no point being on the sidelines feeling sorry for yourself. Being like that your'e a drain on the squad. So I had a go at the back-row. Not that was an easier area because we have the same quality there. But I said I'd give it a go. It began with Shannon really. Gaillimh put me in at number 8 for Shannon in the AIL final. Hadn't a clue what I was doing. But after the set piece it didn't matter. It was good to be thrown into the deep end. Basically I've played more games for Munster in the back-row than in the second row but to be honest so long as I'm involved I'll be over the moon."
And with November internationals looming has he sights set on getting back into the international fold. "Not even remotely thinking in that direction. As I said, competition for places here is huge so what I need to concentrate on is Munster. Things outside that are out of my control."