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Sunday 31 August 2014

Strauss has Munster in sights after return from double injury

David Kelly

Published 11/04/2013 | 05:00

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Leinster's Richardt Strauss

Richardt Strauss spent much of the early part of this season using Google to help him learn the words to 'Amhrán na bhFiann.'

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Sadly, he has spent much of its latter half Googling medical terms as he has battled against two major injuries that have utterly ruined any attempt he harboured on impacting for club and country.

The hooker, an imported South African designated a "project player" by the IRFU, did finally make his Ireland debut last November after completing his qualification stint here.

The emotional occasion confronted him with many of his old South African comrades in Lansdowne Road. For good measure, he also got an unwitting boot in the chops from Ruan Pienaar.

He then scored a try in the romp against Argentina, but, when he returned to the ground a month later for Leinster's doomed Heineken Cup tilt against Clermont Auvergne, he folded to the turf in agony with a serious knee injury.

There were fears that he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament after lasting just 11 minutes of the game, but a revised prognosis determined a mere month on the sidelines.

Little did he realise that when he next crossed the white line, he would lucklessly succumb once more. An ankle ligament injury on duty in Exeter bombed him from any hope of featuring in his new country's Six Nations campaign.

FORTUNATE

"It wasn't great," says the 27-year-old, after nursing his body through two comeback games since, against Ulster and Wasps.

"I have been fortunate in my career that I haven't had any major injuries up until now.

"It is something that you have to take on the chin and get on with. I'm just delighted to be back out on the pitch at this stage.

"It was tough in the Six Nations. For any player it isn't nice to sit on the sideline and watch the lads play.

"Then you have to come in and do the gym work every single day, the same thing every day.

"And then with Leinster, it seems that every time that some players have returned, we have had someone else get injured, so, hopefully, everyone can stay fit.

"It is great to have Brian O'Driscoll back for this week's trip to Thomond Park to face Munster.

"We have been fortunate to have had a good record against Munster in recent seasons, but it is going to be a tough one.

"They are coming off a really good win against Harlequins and that wasn't easy. They will be on a high, but, hopefully, we can do a job.

"They had a brilliant second half. You could see the intensity and the physicality they played with .

"So, we're very excited about that. We just expect the same as we saw in the second half."

Irish Independent

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