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fighting back Garry Ringrose hoping to put his injury hell behind him once and for all

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Garry Ringrose of Leinster was at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the launch of the United Rugby Championship, which will be available free-to-air on RTÉ and TG4. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Garry Ringrose of Leinster was at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the launch of the United Rugby Championship, which will be available free-to-air on RTÉ and TG4. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Garry Ringrose of Leinster was at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the launch of the United Rugby Championship, which will be available free-to-air on RTÉ and TG4. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Garry Ringrose must still be scratching his head on what he did to deserve such bad luck last season.

The reality of his injury-hit nightmare is that it has carried into the start of the new campaign, as the Leinster and Ireland centre continues to work his way back from surgery over the summer.

A damaged shoulder was the icing on the cake after Ringrose had twice broken his jaw, whilst also injuring his ankle during the Six Nations, which subsequently ruled him out for the remainder of the tournament.

By his own admission, on the back of the repeated disruptions, Ringrose dipped below his usual high standards, which cost him a chance to make the Lions tour.

As luck would have it, the 26-year-old ended up having to go under the knife to repair his shoulder, but that didn’t stop his disappointment at failing to make Warren Gatland’s initial squad.

“The selection of it would have been out of my control, so I wouldn’t have thought too much in that regard,” Ringrose says.

“You always hope for the best and then at the same time prepare for the worst. And off the back of last year and how that had gone for me, I kind of applied that to the situation.

“I wasn’t naïve to the fact that I didn’t have the best year in the lead-up to it.

“Obviously, I was disappointed. It would have been a dream come true to do it, but whether that happened or not was out of my control, so I just stuck to what I could control, especially when this shoulder thing cropped up.

“That was a new challenge which refocused me and kept me busy over the summer.”

Making the Lions squad was, no doubt, high on Ringrose’s list of goals and having seen his fellow Irish midfielders, Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki, take on the Springboks, the Blackrock man was forced to watch on wondering ‘what if’.

Although he would love nothing more than to hit the ground running when Leinster begin their new United Rugby Championship campaign against the Bulls at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday week, Ringrose is conscious of not rushing his return, as he looks to ensure that his body is fully healed once and for all.

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“It was unlucky, I guess, probably a couple of years worth of injuries squeezed into the one season, but that’s just kind of how it goes. It’s the nature of the beast, unfortunately,” Ringrose reflects.

“It was frustrating. For each of them, they were all kind of broken bones really, which is just unlucky. I wasn’t left wondering was it something I could have done differently in preparation.

“You just kind of deal with it, you’ve 24 or 48 hours to get the head right and then kick on and reset the focus to rehab and get back. There were a few times last year, and hopefully, I don’t have to do it all this year once I get through this shoulder.”

Whatever about the physical toll, Ringrose, who hopes to be back in action within a month, also had to battle the mental side of things.

“It’s a challenge,” he admits.

“Certainly the immediate, you’re in a bit of a hole, probably a bit angry at the situation, a bit upset by it, but thankfully I’ve people close around me that are incredibly helpful and supportive.

“That’s family and friends, and then the guys at Leinster, the medical team, they kind of help me through that initial bit and then it’s reset, set new targets and kick on from there.

“It’s not easy, but once you get through that initial thing and you see other guys ... like I know, each of my injuries last year, I had a couple of them, but I know some guys who had one of them which kept them out for the same amount of time.

“It’s a tough journey for them, so relatively speaking, putting it into perspective, I’ve been lucky that I could chase games to get back. It’s just the nature of it, we’re all used to it really.”

For all the tough times last season, a new campaign brings fresh possibilities, so from that end, Ringrose is relishing playing in front of fans again.

“The prospect of crowds being back is incredibly exciting,” he added.

“We will have 75pc capacity for our first game next week, which has given everyone a lift and a buzz.”

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