Munster flanker Niall Ronan admits he was pleasantly surprised at how long he kept going on his RaboDirect PRO12 return from a knee injury after seven months out of the game.
Ronan played 70 minutes against Newport-Gwent Dragons last weekend, and even found time to score a try, as his team ran out 33-13 winners at Thomond Park.
Having undergone surgery on his knee after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in a Heineken Cup match against Castres in January, 30-year-old Ronan says the joint can stiffen up at times.
But with the adrenaline pumping on match day Ronan insists he feels like his injury never happened and is hopeful of getting more chances in Rob Penney’s first XV.
“It has been seven months of a hard slog but I’m just delighted to be back,” Ronan told the Irish Examiner.
“Playing 70 minutes was great. I wasn’t supposed to play for that long.
“My knee gets stiff from time to time but it is working well enough, and just to get back playing with the lads is a great feeling. Training Monday to Friday and not playing the games is not nice.
“I played the week before with the A team which was a good little tester, and I did a bit of contact.
“Because of that, I didn’t really think about my knee last weekend. After the first carry and hit, it felt great.
“There is competition in all positions, mine included, and you just got to take your chance if it comes around. Hopefully I did that at the weekend and if I get another chance I’ll have to take it again.”