Leavy layoff puts van der Flier woes in context

Leavy layoff puts van der Flier woes in context

Josh van der Flier says Dan Leavy’s horror injury has helped him to put his own bad luck into perspective.

The two Leinster flankers are out for the rest of this season, with groin and knee injuries respectively, but while Van der Flier is expected to return to action by June, there’s no set date on Leavy’s return — with the Dubliner already ruled out of this autumn’s World Cup.

So extreme was the knee damage, Leavy could be out for much of next season as well, with some fears it could threaten his career.

So when van der Flier, who spent seven months out last year with knee ligament damage of his own, considers his current situation, just looking to his fellow flanker gives him plenty to think about.

“It’s terrible really, I’m absolutely gutted for him. I had something similar last year and there’s not really much you can say to console anyone.

“It is a long time out for him and missing the World Cup is unfortunate for him. Everyone is pretty gutted.

We won at the weekend but, in the changing room after, they wheeled him in on the bed to hang out with the lads. It was a sad atmosphere for him. It’s tough.

“You can get easily caught up with little niggles you have. Then, you see someone who is out for an extended period of time, like Dan, and it does put things into perspective.

“I am grateful it will only be 12 weeks for me even though it is not ideal.”

Leavy’s cruel blow came just 11 minutes after his return from a previous injury, while van der Flier was removed from the pitch after just 23 minutes into Ireland’s Six Nations win over France in March.

It’s the second year in a row that he’s been injured in a Six Nations game against the same opposition, and once more it’s cost him the chance to play in Leinster’s European knockout games.

Yet, if there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that the 25 year-old will be back fresh and ready to go at the start of Ireland’s World Cup pre-season.

“It is good to know that, as far as timelines go, if I go exactly to schedule I should be back at the start of pre-season into Ireland camp,” he said.

I suppose it wouldn’t be ideal if I was kinda rushing back or arriving at the end of the pre-season but hopefully it all goes to schedule and then I will get a full pre-season which will give me a springboard for the year.

A return to training in June gives van der Flier a decent run in to Ireland’s four warm-up games later that summer.

The absence of Leavy in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad leaves a slot open for someone else, but has van der Flier done enough already to have his name on a reserved seat?

“I suppose it’s an incredibly competitive position,” he said. “I thought Jordi [Murphy] was outstanding at the weekend [for Ulster], and there’s a lot of backrows playing really well in Ireland.

“So yeah, once I get back. I’m going to have to be training and playing well to get into that squad…”

- Josh Van Der Flier was speaking at the launch of the Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Summer Camps which will run in 27 different venues across the province throughout July and August. Visit www.leinsterrugby.ie/camps for more information.

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