Devin Toner’s injury problems are behind him with the Ireland lock declaring himself fit and ready to go as Joe Schmidt’s squad ramps up its World Cup preparations.
Toner, who had been able to avoid injury for vast stretches of his long career, had less luck in the latter half of the last campaign, starting with an ankle injury suffered against England in February.
That problem, in the opening game of the Six Nations, kept him sidelined for the rest of the tournament. He then missed Leinster’s Guinness PRO14 final defeat of Glasgow Warriors last month with a knee injury sustained against Munster in the semi-final.
“It’s great. I’d say if there was a game coming up, I’d probably be able to play. I’m not doing contact or mauling or anything. I’m just doing kind of linear running and stuff from side to side. If I had to play, I would be able to strap it up and be able to play.
“The way pre-season is, we did a hard two-week block. We have a week next week where we still have to kind of train on our own and then we are back in. When we come back in for that week, I’m hell for leather doing everything then, so it’s grand. It could have been a lot worse than what it was.”
That unfamiliarity with injury and the consequences meant that Toner was uncertain just how bad his knee problem would be when he did the damage in that Six Nations opener against England in Dublin.
“To me it felt bad because I have never done my knee before. I felt a little bit of a pop, so I thought it was bad but because I was able to walk off the pitch and put weight on it, they told me it wasn’t too bad.
“It was a grade two medial. A lot of lads have done it and said it was grand and that I would be back in five or six weeks.”