Garry Ringrose not setting any goals as he battles to get back in the groove

Leinster and Ireland centre was disappointed but not surprised at missing out on Lions trip

Garry Ringrose is hoping he can bring up his century of Leinster caps by the end of the season as he build up his fitness after shoulder surgery. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Garry Ringrose is hoping he can bring up his century of Leinster caps by the end of the season as he build up his fitness after shoulder surgery. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

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Garry Ringrose suppresses a wry smile. “I’ve a little bit of experience with injury,” he says. That’s about as much as you get from the Leinster and Ireland centre. He’s on an ASAP IKD trajectory. That’s a medical test, kind of, that says thumbs up but it won’t be this week, maybe not next week either. Shorter than a month he hopes.

But Ringrose, as his demeanour suggests, has become schooled on rehabilitation. Having initially gone through the three stages of injury – anger, upset and getting on with it, the shoulder that he had fixed has been throwing out some encouraging numbers.

Pushing it for the November internationals is not a discussion he wants to have as Leinster initially prepare for the South African Bulls in their first competitive match of the new season in the United Rugby Championship (URC).

His 86 Leinster appearances nudging towards 100, maybe this season, is another issue far from the forefront of his mind. Ringrose just wants to play and stay healthy.

“I haven’t thought about that at all,” he says of 100 caps. “But now that you’ve said it, it’s a pretty special milestone to reach. It was probably be towards the end of the season if it happens. That would be a pretty cool one to tick off.”

He missed out in the Lions selection at the end of last season after coming into Warren Gatland’s selection window light on games after a tough 18 months of injury and procedures. If he looks for regrets he can find them. But Ringrose isn’t wired that way.

“I was disappointed, like anyone. I wasn’t naive to the fact that I didn’t have the best year in the lead-up to it. 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 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.

Garry Ringrose challenges for the ball with Scotland’s George Turner during the Six Nations game against Scotland at Murrayfield back in March. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Garry Ringrose challenges for the ball with Scotland’s George Turner during the Six Nations game against Scotland at Murrayfield back in March. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

“It was nice to get a break and I think everyone enjoyed getting four weeks to reset and get a clearer picture in terms of what schedule we would be facing off the back of that 18 months of uncertainty and things changing on a monthly basis.”

At 26-years-old he’s got a lot ahead, his Irish partnerships with Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki an ongoing blending of strengths and ability by Irish coach Andy Farrell.

The first match of the November series is against the USA in Las Vegas at the end of October before Japan, New Zealand and Argentina return to Dublin in November. But given the last few months Leinster and the URC are more urgently pressing.

His last few weeks have been spent with former Irish flanker Denis Leamy and Kieran Hallett, the designees to help the injured with their skills in the gym.

“Thankfully I was able to get back training about two weeks ago,” he says. “I was in a bib at the start, I’m now trying to leave the bib on the sideline and progress things and push on.

“I think everyone is excited and motivated. I know they are frequently used words but off the back of last year, playing in empty stadiums, the fact that we were able to take holidays, guys were given their two or four weeks off.

“Guys could either travel around Ireland or get away, which was a good opportunity for everyone to reset after the year and a half, which was a pretty long season. I was told today that the Aviva, we would have 75 per cent capacity for our first game next week, which has kinda given everyone a lift and a buzz.”

Ringrose also gave voice to the Connacht women’s rugby team issues and said what happened at the interprovincial match last weekend should never be repeated.

The IRFU and Leinster issued an apology after their changing area was set up beside bins on waste ground adjacent to Energia Park in Dublin’s Donnybrook.

A Connacht player posted a video of the facilities on social media, saying “Wow, great job getting changed beside the dump. Don’t mind the rats.”

“I actually saw a video of it on Instagram and it is obviously pretty ridiculous and there was clearly a massive mix [up]. But I can’t imagine it is a mistake that should ever be made again.”

“I don’t really know the ins and outs of it other than that it was a massive mistake and one that shouldn’t have happened but one that, as I said, shouldn’t happen again.”

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