Munster captain Paul O’Connell’s preparation for the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season has been severely disrupted by failing to hit his estimated recovery dates for a knee injury.
After taking a knock to his knee in Ireland’s 17-17 draw with France in the Six Nations he recovered only to injure it again, doing damage to his medial ligaments, in Munster’s 36-8 win over Ulster in May, ruling him out of the Irish province’s play-off fixture with the Ospreys, which they lost 45-10.
He then missed Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand and could only watch as his countrymen suffered three straight defeats, although they did push the World Champions close in the second Test before going down 22-19 to a late Dan Carter drop-goal.
But last season’s pains are being carried forward as O’Connell’s pre-season training has been plagued by his persistent affliction, leaving the giant lock in restless mood.
"I thought I'd be further down the track that I am now," he told the Irish Times. "I suppose I thought I might have had a chance of playing in New Zealand but when I didn't go I thought surely I'll be back and ready for the start of pre-season.
"Unfortunately I wasn't. I am back doing running now this last week and a half and hope to be back fully into it at the end of this week.
"I have had about four weeks’ hard work with the physio under my belt and it has been brilliant. While the internationals were away I got a lot of work done by myself, but it has been frustrating.
"I'd love to have had four or five weeks of a good pre-season under my belt or running. I have plenty of weights done and plenty of skills down, but I haven't got the running, the hard slog done like some of the boys. “Hopefully next week I can get into that."