Leicester Tigers fullback Geordan Murphy had some tough choices to make before Ireland's June tour of South Africa. After breaking his left leg in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Scotland in September 2003, he had a pin inserted in the leg, which should have been removed earlier this year. As yet, the pin is still there. And he does not seem at all worried.
"It was a very tough decision to make," reveals Geordan, "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'."
A sensible decision had to be made - for Murphy's own well-being, Leicester's sake and his country's sake. That decision was made and before the end of June, Geordan had starred in Tigers' run-in to Heineken Cup qualification for next season ... and he toured with Ireland to SA, playing in both tests against the Springboks in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
Geordan just smiles: "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."
Whilst it is understandable that there is a lot of fuss over Geordan's well-being, he does not seem bothered, insisting that he just wants to "get on with things", adding: "I'm doing everything with all the guys, although I'm finding it quite tough because I haven't done much for so long, but that's all part of pre-season. If my leg starts getting sore again, I'll cross that bridge when I get there - for now it's full steam ahead."
Having being allowed a few weeks off after Ireland's 2-0 series loss to the South Africans, Geordan feels motivated and refreshed to get back out there again - "Which rugby players aren't?" he asks - but he admits that things have been a wee bit tough on the training ground.
"The staff here are working us very, very hard and the body is quite sore," he says, gesturing with his hands for extra effect. "They say it's quite good if you're feeling sore as the exercise is having an effect on you. My problem is that I'm a bit too sore at this stage!"
He quickly adds, however: "It will hit a stage when it begins to taper off and I know that I'll reap the benefits of the hard work later on."
But teething pain aside, pre-season is not always just hard work, with the Tigers squad set to spend a week in Scotland - from Sunday onwards - no doubt giving the players a chance to spend some quality time together.
Says Geordan: "It should be interesting. I'm not too sure about the place we're going too as I don't know much about it - hopefully it'll be nice. I'm sure the training will be tough, but as long as the food's nice that'll be good enough for me.
"I think one of the reasons why we're going away for a week is to give everyone a chance to spend some time together. Sure, we see each other at training every day, but Oval Park isn't quite the place to cement friendships! We all get along well, but this will give us quality time and an opportunity to get to know the new guys, too."
Whilst Geordan admits that some of the players already have their eyes fixed on Sunday, September 5 - Tigers' opening Zurich Premiership match of the season - they cannot afford to be complacent, despite their superb form at the end of last season. (Tigers never lost a game after Geordan made his comeback against London Irish on February 21.)
"We ended the season strongly," he says, understating his side's 12-game unbeaten streak somewhat. "We have as good a chance as any other team to do well next season, but we would do well to take what we learnt last year into the new season as there are some strong sides in the Zurich Premiership."
Strong sides or not, and let us not forget the Heineken Cup either, Geordan is well aware of the challenges that Tigers face as they look to end a two-season trophy drought at Welford Road.
"I guess I was spoilt when first got here," he admits. "We won trophies all the time - some seasons we would win one trophy, sometimes we'd win two and sometimes we'd even win three. It's nice, everyone likes to win, and nobody likes to be a loser. Personally, I'd like to get my hands on some more silverware ... and I know all the other blokes feel that way, too."
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that tickets for all Leicester Tigers home games will go on sale at the Tigers ticket office from 9am on Monday, August 2.
For the first time, supporters will be able to purchase tickets for ANY game before the season has even kicked off, including Tigers' 11 home Zurich Premiership matches and the Heineken Cup pool games against Calvisano, Wasps and Biarritz.
The season at Welford Road kicks off against Cardiff Blues on Saturday, August 28 (kick-off 3pm), and the first home Zurich Premiership match of the season is on Saturday, September 11, against Leeds Tykes, with kick-off also scheduled for 3pm.
To order your tickets, phone the ticket hotline on 08701 28 34 30, email the ticket office on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Tigers ticket office at Welford Road.