Reddan back on the road to recovery

Since breaking his leg a month ago the Irish scrumhalf has been plotting his return

Eoin Reddan in action against France in the match in which he broke his leg.

Eoin Reddan in action against France in the match in which he broke his leg.


Eoin Reddan says the gods of fortune were with him. Watching Ireland’s final minutes against France in this year’s Six Nations with the Irish scrumhalf sucking up oxygen on the field, having broken his leg and wrenched ligaments and there wasn’t such a strong feeling of good luck sweeping through the West Stand.

“The scan showed up that I was lucky,” he says defiantly. “I’d torn ligaments, which made it look worse and I broke the fibula, which is the smaller bone in the leg. The tibia would have been a much, much bigger problem.”

There are sights in rugby that send a frisson of horror around grounds and the pain-dulling oxygen mask coming out is one of them. Reddan, back in the Aviva Stadium supporting Show Racism the Red Card, has put it all behind even if some queasy spectators have not. The crutches are gone, the plaster nowhere to be seen and ambitions renewed.

Somewhat especially from Reddan there is a palpable sense that the summer tour to the US and Canada is on his mind as well as a wafer-thin chance of involvement. Somewhat contradictory, he also acknowledges that June 8th, when Ireland plays the USA in the first tour match, is too early. Or is it? Mid-June is his anticipated re-entry point.

“Yeah, yeah,” he concedes, the match is too early. “Unless something bizarre happens in the next few weeks. I’ve been in touch with Les (Kiss, interim Irish coach) and stuff like that about the tour . . . if things go well or badly. It’s probably not a real possibility but it’s just keeping everyone informed about everything. The sensible thing is probably to make sure I’m right and be ready to go next season. In the end it won’t be my call anyway, it will be the physios.

“It (the break) was very simple, which was great because that is always a fear. There were no complications. It was all pretty straightforward. I never have broken any bone before and yeah it was quite sore. I did three things, which on their own take 12 weeks and all together take the same amount of time. While it looked bad at first it was actually okay.”

Not always sanguine
Reddan may return to a new Leinster coach and a new Irish coach. His years with Declan Kidney were not always sanguine and in recent Test matches Munster’s Conor Murray was preferred at scrumhalf, while in Leinster he and Isaac Boss rotated the position.

Although frustrations were occasionally high, especially with Kidney, his respect remains for the former national coach. Reddan separates the man from the job and Kidney, the person, emerges with his honour intact. “He always put the team first,” says Reddan. “He was a very honourable man and at times I would have disagreed with him and lost out in selection. But that never would have changed what I thought about him and what he was trying to do with the team.

“I wouldn’t have a bad word to say about him at all. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him for the past few years apart from the odd meeting where I was getting dropped. It was great to be working with someone who cared about the jersey as much as you do.”

For Joe Schmidt and his future, wherever it lies, it’s more simple. “People know all about Joe and how good he is,” he says. “Obviously he’s a great coach; it’s not surprising Ireland are looking for him.”

It has been a week since the crutches were cast aside and while he is walking gingerly between the Aviva Stadium seats, he is walking and he is back in the gym rehabing, a new experience for a player who is rarely injured.

Until retirement a rugby player’s life seems always to exist in the pragmatic present or future, something at least they can influence. Reddan’s broken leg is a pause along the path. “I’ve been very lucky so far I haven’t been injured at all,” he says.

“I was very lucky when it first happen and things didn’t look great in terms of the way I was moving on the pitch. But everyone who has gone through this is telling me not to put any dates on it. I’m just happy to be up and about and training hard in the gym. Middle of June I’d say.”

That sounds as definite as we're going to get.