Mixed emotions for Varley
September 14, 2011
Damien Varley has spoken of his joy at being drafted into Ireland's Rugby World Cup squad while at the same time expressing sympathy for the plight of the man whose place he is taking, Munster colleague Jerry Flannery.
Veteran hooker Flannery is heading home after suffering a calf problem in training which has raised concerns over his future in the game in light of the fact that he missed much of last season with the same injury.
Varley is the man to benefit from Flannery's misfortunate, but while he is delighted at being handed an unexpected chance to feature on the biggest stage in world rugby, he has mixed feels about his call-up.
"There were a couple of emotions running through my head when I got the call from Declan (Kidney) inviting me to join up with the squad," he said. "The first was obviously overriding elation at getting the opportunity to take part in the tournament. You always dream of representing your country at the highest possible level and the World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport.
"After the initial excitement, my thoughts turned to Jerry's (Flannery) position. I know he'll be gutted at having to return home early after what has been a hard journey for him to get his fitness back, but I am sure he will be looking to get back playing as soon as possible.
"The best possible compliment I can pay him is to make sure that I train hard down there (New Zealand) and do whatever I can to help the squad be as successful as possible."
Varley also insisted that he will have no problem in getting himself up to speed given that he has featured in both of his province's opening two fixtures in this season's RaboDirect PRO12.
"I've been able to maintain my fitness levels with Munster and kept my game time ticking over with them, so I feel fresh and ready to do whatever is asked of me," he said.
"I was part of the extended squad for the preseason, so a lot of the technical stuff and calls are still fresh enough for me to be able to hit the ground running.
"We have a massive game this weekend against Australia and I will just about make it to Auckland in time to see the game."
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