Peter O’Mahony’s excitement at returning to competitive rugby shone through this week as he edges to within touching distance of ending the most frustrating period of his career.
The Munster captain returned to full training for the first time since he sustained a horrific cruciate ligament injury a World Cup pool clash against France last October.
But the light at the end of the long tunnel is getting brighter with each passing day.
“I think I have dealt quite well with the injury, not just around the squad but at home as well,” said O’Mahony, who recently celebrated his 27th birthday.
“It was a long-term injury and prepared myself for that but the last six to eight weeks were tough, just being on the edge and nearly there.
“Training on your own is tough because it’s a team sport. For the last few weeks, I’ve been lacing up the boots to go out and do a full session which was exciting.
“It will take me another few weeks. There’s only so much you can train, how much you can simulate in training, it will be a case of getting out there and throwing myself about and see how I get on.”
Passing the time and rehabbing the injury must have been extremely testing for such an active and successful sportsman.
“I have plenty of pastimes outside of rugby. I had a little daughter in April and was kept on my toes by her. That was good timing as I was around for that. We called her Indie (Indigo is her birth cert) and she kept me busy”.
Contemplating the prospect of a back-row of Peter O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, and CJ Stander going into battle in the major European Cup battles is exciting Munster fans, all the more so because they are being prepared by Rassie Erasmus who himself has massive experience of the three positions.
“I am a big believer in what he is trying to do, a big believer in his game plan,” O’Mahony enthused.
“He has a huge amount of knowledge and he is not the kind of guy who will throw it at you and say, ‘go and do it.’ We will sit down and go through it. They explain everything as to why we are doing it. I think our understanding is better as a squad of what we are trying to do and I think that makes it more enjoyable.”
Having recently moved into a new house in Cork and with the arrival of Indie, O’Mahony plans to mostly spend the first few days of the week in Limerick and the remainder back home while openly displaying his liking for the new Centre of Excellence at UL.
“It is incredible the difference it has made over the past two to three weeks,” he said. “We are much more time efficient now, not that we are doing a huge amount more training, but we were always panicking a bit to get meetings in here and there. Now this makes life a lot easier.”
Staying injury free is now a priority for O’Mahony but he insists his fearless approach to the game will not change.
“No, I think you have to go full on, not just for your head, but for your body to prove to your head that your body can do it. I know deep down that I have done all the training now that will allow me get out there and be fine,
“But I suppose you just got to take a few knocks and bangs, throw yourself about, let your head know that your body is ready to go.”
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