Thursday 14 November 2019

"I won't be throwing in the towel on my Six Nations hopes"

PLAYER DIARY

Munster's Dave Kilcoyne, right, and Paddy Butler warm up before squad training (Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE)
Munster's Dave Kilcoyne, right, and Paddy Butler warm up before squad training (Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE)

Dave Kilcoyne

As nice as it will be to do some work on the sun tan, Lanzarote is the last place I want to be this week. It was all about getting up to Carton House with the lads in Ireland camp in time for the Six Nations.

Unfortunately my knee injury has beaten me and the lack of game time and live scrummaging has ruled me out - for now.

I'm not throwing the towel in just yet, though. I am going off to camp with the Munster lads tomorrow and there will be plenty of opportunity to work on my fitness, get some good scrummaging done and basically get back into the swing of things. You never know when I might be called on.

I found out that I wasn't going to be part of the extended Ireland squad and in fairness to Joe Schmidt, he gave me a call to break the news to me.

I sort of knew that I was a week too late to make it in time, but there is always the hope that you'd make it back.

I had a good chat with Joe though and it kind of lifted my spirits a bit. The plan is to play a couple of game with Munster after this warm weather camp and see how it goes then.

Waiting

Hopefully he might call me in for the England game or the Wales or Scotland weekends if it all goes well.

In fairness there was no point in me going up to camp and standing around waiting to get my chance.

I am probably better off down here doing my rehab and getting back to full fitness, while heading off for a few days with the lads.

It was still tough to finally admit to myself that I was going to miss out on the start of the Six Nations, though. I have been involved for the last five Ireland games and I think I did pretty well in Argentina and over the autumn and I've been pretty happy with my Munster form.

But the door is far from closed, I have plenty to play for and I'm looking forward to getting back into the thick of it with Munster in the next couple of weeks.

It's a funny process recovering from injury. The first couple of weeks the improvements are pretty large, going from pool sessions to testing the knee out a bit, but the closer you get to the finish line the smaller those improvements are.

What stalled me really was the lack of a game: if Munster were playing this weekend it would have been perfect.

But no harm, I'm off to Lanzarote with the boys with my factor 30 packed, and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the field with everyone. It is very tough watching on from the sidelines, especially at this time of the year when there is so much to play for.

It was rotten watching the lads playing against Saracens. I think we all become experts when we are watching on, I certainly had a solution for everything in my head, so to climb down off the ditch and get back to action will be good.

To get back to playing, there are a few tests that you need to pass. Level one would be completing some straight-line running; level two makes you do some running with changes of directions; and level three is working your way back though contact.

The contact level - I'm going through that one now - is the toughest because there are three subsets of that as well.

You have to first be able to do some bag work, then it's on to some controlled contact, and after that, before getting the final sign-off, you have to be able to do everything: full-on tackling, scrummaging and mauling. That's next on my list.

And while I have had to watch what I've been doing with my knee, I have been able to keep going with everything else. I've looked at it as the chance to do another small pre-season.

I've been doing loads of pool and bike work and I managed to get in a good bit of extra upper-body work at the same time.

I have just been trying to make as many strength gains as possible.

I was back running a couple of weeks ago, so I have a few fitness sessions under the belt and I was also able to get back out on the pitch during the week. I am back to speed with it now.

When lads are out injured they use the opportunity to work away at other parts of their game, so I said I'd try to come along with my weights work. I reckon my scores have improved right across the board as a result, but I'll leave off testing them fully for a week or so.

Once we get back from the training camp all focus will turn to Cardiff Blues and getting off to a winning start at the Irish Independent Park.

It's been a bit strange not going down to Cork for a few games so far this season, but we'll get to know the road fairly well again from now on.

Tonight's Wolfhounds game is huge for all the lads - I'd love to be getting my things ready now to play because it's a real chance to lay down a marker ahead of the big games in the Six Nations.

Hopefully all goes well in the next week and there are no hiccups in my comeback because I can't wait to get back into the action now.

Like ourselves I'm sure Cardiff will be down a few bodies because of the Six Nations, but seeing as Adam Jones is not involved with Wales, I'm sure he'll be keen to get back on the pitch too with something to prove.

But first things first, I have a few tests to pass, some good hard scrummaging sessions to get through and a few tackle bags to hit. Onwards and upwards!

Irish Independent

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