Peter O'Mahony says no player can afford to give less than 100% in Ireland's World Cup warm-up games – despite Joey Carbery's injury scare against Italy.
The Munster fly-half is expected to miss the rest of the pre-tournament friendlies against England and Wales (x2) and an injury update is expected from the IRFU today before the team head to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp.
The 23-year-old could face up to six weeks on the sidelines, giving Joe Schmidt another headache when it comes to selecting his 31-man squad for Japan.
Wales no. 10 Mark Anscombe injured his cruciate ligament in last week's defeat to England, ruling him out of the tournament, joining Toby Faletau, who was also ruled out with injury earlier this month.
“I was injured on a Saturday at the last World Cup during the French game and home on the Sunday, it's just part of it,” said the Munster skipper.
“It's always there. It's something that would breeze into your head now and then, but you have to go hard at these games.
“You are playing against some of the best teams in the world. If you are going 99.5%, there is a much higher possibility of you getting injured than when you are going 100%.
“There are accidents and these things happen but you have to go hard because these teams are too good not to.”
Carbery had scans on his ankle on Monday and competing reports have put the former Leinster man's recovery time at between four to six weeks.
O'Mahony has been in touch with his provincial teammate, but admits all players come to terms: “It's not something you ever want to see, but unfortunately it's part and parcel of rugby.
“I don't know what the outcome is, but hopefully he will be able to get back fit and beat the race [for selection] in the next few weeks.
“It is cruel, yeah. We are obviously working hard. Every other country who is involved is going to be work hard as well.
“It's difficult but lots of people have been there before and it will happen to lots of people again unfortunately. It's something you have to battle through.
“Gareth [Anscombe] had an incredible season for Wales, Toby Faletau, you would be gutted for guys like that.
“I toured with Toby with the Lions and I saw first-hand how good he actually is. You would always have videos of guys but to see guys like that up close, how good he was on that tour, you would be gutted for him.”
- Peter O'Mahony was speaking as Marks & Spencer Ireland's first sports ambassador.