Ireland full-back Geordan Murphy has revealed that loyalty to his country led him to forego a leg operation which would have ruled him out of the tour of South Africa in June.
Leicester Tigers full-back Murphy had a pin inserted in his leg after he broke it in a World Cup warm-up match against Scotland in September 2003 and had been expected to have the pin removed.
However, having the operation would have seen Murphy miss the tour and he felt he could not appear to be favouring his club over his country, so he travelled to South Africa and played in both tests in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
He said: "It was a very tough decision to make, but I couldn't really justify not going - seeing that I was playing for Leicester.
"Although my leg was troubling me, I couldn't turn around and say, 'Look, I'm having trouble with my leg, I can't tour with my country, but I'll be able to play for my club before then'.
"I think if I hadn't gone on tour I would definitely have had the operation. I've been able to rest since coming back from the Ireland tour and it's feeling a lot better, so hopefully I won't have to have the operation at all.
"Certain doctors said that I don't need to have it out and that a bit of rest would allow it to settle down. That's what I've done, I've had a good few weeks off; I'm back at training now, the pin's still there and it's not bothering me - touch wood."
England Under-18 head coach John Fletcher insists his young side will be better for the experience after beating Italy in the bronze final to round out their 2015 Rugby Europe U18 Championship campaign in style.