I'm haunted after injury ruined World Cup dream, reveals Leavy
Joe Schmidt won't like it, but understandably the omission of Simon Zebo from his Ireland squad drew all the focus when the panel was named yesterday.
The head coach stuck to his routine by avoiding a press conference tKearney, R Kearney (all Leinster), I Keatley (Munster), K Marmion (Connacht), S McCloskey (Ulster), L McGrath (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J Sexton (Leinster), J Stockdale (Ulster), D Sweetnam (Munster).
DISTRAUGHT Dan Leavy has revealed his "haunted thoughts" at being forced to miss the Rugby World Cup but the Leinster flanker vowed to return from a devastating knee ligament injury as he waits to see a specialist.
"I'm struggling to put into words how devastated I am with the injury," he said. "Firstly, to miss the business end of the season and our opportunity to pursue another European and league title.
"Secondly, to miss an opportunity to play in a World Cup in Japan is haunting my thoughts.
"All I have ever aimed for in my career is the opportunity to shine on the world stage for my country and do the nation and my family proud.
"I back the boys to make history as they always do and will watch on as No.1 supporter. I will be back."
Luke McGrath and Leavy watched from the sidelines as Ireland's Grand Slam defence weakened, all the while strengthening themselves for renewal.
Eyes firmly focused on achieving full fitness, towards the recess of their minds the knowledge that Leinster's title charge loomed large. Then Japan.
McGrath knows only he alone will make that journey now.
Perspective, if it were needed, as the scrum-half zips back into form and the rudest of health.
"It is a very odd, bizarre mood here this morning," admitted McGrath. "He's gutted, I was absolutely gutted for him, the extent of the injury, he has a long spell out ahead of him.
"He's very down at the moment and it's important for us to support him as much as we can in this difficult time for him.
"He'll have little short-term goals during that, however long it is, six or nine months, whatever it is, that's the kind of challenge that awaits him.
"But there's such good staff here, the rehab guys are brilliant, they'll take him through what's needed, it's important we try and stay positive with him."
A crude reminder that, even without a World Cup target, cruel fate can land her blow.
"It is such a tough game when you're talking about injuries. I know I obviously had those eight weeks out and it's a very difficult time, every player wants to be out there playing and it's very hard to watch," he said.
"So yeah, it is a bit of a stark reminder when you do get injured, but you just have to look after yourself as best you can and fingers crossed, you don't.
"It's such a significant injury that happened to Dan. From my point of view whenever a player gets injured you want to know when you can get back.
"And then you do as much rehab as possible, set yourself short-term goals like when you're back running, when you're back training and things like that.
"It's hard to be positive with him at the moment, just because he's obviously looking at the World Cup and things like that.
"But he's a very positive guy himself and hopefully that will help him through it."