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“Ireland will definitely miss Dan. His standard has always been incredible’

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As Dan Leavy lay on the Lansdowne Road lawn surrounded by paramedics, Seán O’Brien stripped off his tracksuit and made his way to the touchline. The next gladiator in the arena.

he Tullow Tank was in the final year of a glittering Leinster career, but before his eyes he knew his successor was struggling.

Leavy would play rugby again, but his time as a force of nature capable of dominating matches at the highest level ended when he attempted to capture the ball in a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster, and by prop Wiehahn Fall who blocked him came from the side, without arms.

The injuries were catastrophic and it’s a testament to the flanker’s resilience that he made it back at all.

Yesterday he announced that his comeback is over and that he is giving up his career at the age of 27.

“Looking back at the incident itself, it’s very hard to really get back to where you were when you’re doing a job like that,” O’Brien said.

“If it was just a hamstring off the bone, part of the knee, just an ACL, it’s completely different, but tearing every single thing in his knee, at the end of his hamstring, everything like… he was just very, very unhappy, to do everything.

“Dan’s the type of guy who’s tried everything, talked to the S&C trainers and whatnot, he’s tried everything but there comes a time when your body just can’t go back to where you are at that level kinda feel better.”

At 35, O’Brien has put his body through the mill and remains a player with London Irish. He’s stuck his head in countless packs to gain possession for his team and knows the risks involved.

Herbst was not penalized on the pitch in March 2019. Nor was he quoted.

And while there has been a bit of focus on the impact of these purges in recent seasons, O’Brien says he has noticed that the jackaller (poacher) is still not getting the protection it needs from referees.

“Dan was technically better at poaching than me,” he said.

“As a poacher you are most vulnerable on the pitch and I know it’s very different these days, but once you try to lift the ball the referee should give it.

“I still think the umpires have strayed a bit from that lately. I hear them say, ‘You didn’t survive the eviction… it’s not about survival – it’s about a lift and the ball carrier has to let go immediately,’ O added. brien

“I know things are being done to help people get out of those positions that Dan has been in and other people have been in, so hopefully that’s something that’s brought back up and kept up to date.

“You don’t want that to happen to other younger Backrows.

“I hope umpires, those in power pay attention to that and don’t let it take a back seat.”

For a player with just 11 caps for Ireland and forced to retire so early, Leavy made a lasting impression.

O’Brien says his talent was evident from the moment he arrived at Leinster training with a huge reputation from St Michael’s and UCD.

“It was training against him, as soon as he got into that environment he felt comfortable,” he said.

“You could feel Dan’s power, his strength when we were in contact in training. For someone young enough to step in and break into this space, you just know this guy is ready to rock and be classy.

“Then you get a little rocket up your ass to uphold the standard you’ve set for yourself.

“His standard in training and games was incredible, you couldn’t tell Dan when he came in and played like that.

“It’s sad, it’s sad that someone aged 27 has to call it, someone I believed would have been a big part of Leinster and Ireland for the next 10 years.

“The way he carried the ball, his skills; He was probably the most versatile back rower you could think of to try to come in and take the No. 7 shirt.

“I figured when I went and he came through, they could build it around this guy for the next five or six or seven years.

“He was just an incredible player and a really good person… Ireland will definitely miss him. If he could have gotten back to 2018 form then he’s world class,” concluded O’Brien.

https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/ireland-will-miss-dan-definitely-his-standard-was-always-incredible-41524658.html “Ireland will definitely miss Dan. His standard has always been incredible’

Fry Electronics Team

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