Wales forward Moriarty ready for Test match return following injury nightmare
Wales number eight has gone into detail about the serious injury that sidelined him on two occasions this season.
Ross Moriarty has revealed the full extent of a horror injury that ended his British and Irish Lions tour and left him unable to climb stairs.
The Gloucester back-row forward will return to Test match action when Wales host Scotland in Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations opener.
It is only the fourth time this season he has played for club or country, yet in some ways, it is a minor miracle he is on a rugby pitch at all.
Moriarty’s Wales comeback has arrived eight months after he felt “something pop” in his back during the Lions’ opening tour game against New Zealand Barbarians in Whangarei.
“Two of the discs slipped in my back and jammed into the nerves of my legs, so the muscles on my legs stopped working,” he said.
“So I’ve had to learn to use my leg muscles again, really, and now they are back and working properly so I can stand on one leg without falling over.
“I couldn’t run, I couldn’t stand on one leg, I couldn’t walk upstairs, I couldn’t walk downstairs, and that’s actually one of the things I had to do after training to see how it was coming on was to be able to walk upstairs without using the banister.”
Surgery was not an option either, with 23-year-old Moriarty adding: “No surgeon would go in there because they said it was too close to the nerve and if they damaged it that would basically be me done. It was a lot more serious than I expected.
“I went to see four different surgeons, and none of them would think of it. It was tough to hear.”
Moriarty attempted a comeback for his club in November during Wales’ autumn Tests, only to suffer another setback and be sidelined for two more months.
“In the week following that game a tear in my disc was leaking fluid on to my knee again, so that was giving me a lot of problems in my leg. I had another injection into my disc area then, which has helped. It’s all sorted now,” he added.
“After that first game back, I actually was really, really worried and really upset. I played the game and I felt absolutely fine, and then the week following that in training it was obvious that something had happened again.
“It’s always tough when you can’t play rugby. Some take it better than others, but personally there is not much for me without rugby, so I took it quite tough after that second time.
“There were two instances when I felt something pop in my back (against New Zealand Barbarians), and I thought it was hip-cracking, but it was obviously my disc popping out of place.
“I feel right, physically, now. I have made sure I am ready and tip-top. I know that if I wasn’t right, I wouldn’t get picked.”
Even while Moriarty was continuing his long recovery process, he endured a difficult time on social media from critics bizarrely angered by his move from Gloucester to Welsh region the Dragons next season, a switch he has made in order to pursue his Test career because of Wales’ new senior player selection policy.
“I am a very straight person,” he said.
“If someone comes up to me and speaks to me personally, I am happy with that, but when people are saying other things and people are being told things that aren’t necessarily true and then writing them on the internet, then that doesn’t swing right with me.
“There are a lot of people who say things on the internet who have never had any experience in rugby, in professional sports, but act like they’ve coached the All Blacks. That’s the way it is. That is the sad reality. That is the way social media works.”