Hume felt 'mentally fragile' after Ireland A game

2 months ago 33
James Hume in action for Ireland AHume played almost an hour of Ireland A's game against an All Blacks XV on 4 November
Venue: RDS, Dublin Date: Saturday, 3 December Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio Foyle

James Hume says he felt "mentally fragile" after playing for Ireland A in their match against an All Blacks XV on 4 November as he bids to return to full fitness and recover his best form.

Hume suffered a groin injury in the first midweek game of Ireland's summer tour to New Zealand in June.

The 24-year-old returned to action for Ulster against Munster on 29 October.

"The Munster and Ireland A games I was operating at close to 60%, nowhere near where I should have been," said Hume.

"I had an ongoing problem just above where my surgery was and I just didn't manage it right," added the three-times capped Ireland centre.

"I was just playing it off as if it wasn't anything serious and half-way through that Ireland A game I felt something so I said to myself, 'I'm not ready yet'.

"It was a blessing coming back from Ireland, rehabbing, finding out it was something I need to maintain.

"Now I'm building my way back up with the training load. That's what you need, you need exposure to high loads in training and games.

"I think I'm getting closer to it now but I'm still far off where I want to be."

'In horrible form'

Hume, Ulster's Player of the Year in 2021, revealed that as well as overcoming the physical side of his injury, the mental aspect had also proved a challenge in recent times.

"I was a bit mentally fragile in my own head after that Ireland A game, wondering, 'Is this going to get better? Can I get back to playing the way I was playing last year? I don't want to be one season and then just flop for the rest of my career.

"All this goes on in your head and it's something you can't control. I was in horrible form for a few days.

"If you don't get out of that place you can be there for a couple of weeks so I nipped that in the bud straight away.

"I said to myself, 'This is stupid, I need to wise up, and I got back to rehab and worked hard again."

Growing in confidence

Hume returned to competitive action in Ulster's United Rugby Championship win over Zebre at Kingspan Stadium and is set to feature in the top-of-the-table interprovincial match with Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.

"I'm feeling confident now and getting my hands on the ball on Friday night brought my confidence up another level," explained Hume.

"When you have surgery in that area it's natural you want to protect it but at the weekend I felt I could trust it a bit more.

"Footwork and explosiveness were such a big part of my game last year so I'm just building up to that level, pushing myself to do that.

"It just takes training load and exposure to high levels to get it back.

James Hume played for Ulster against Zebre on FridayJames Hume played for Ulster against Zebre on Friday

"I think I expected too much from myself in that Ireland A game against a very high calibre team after undergoing significant surgery. I thought I'd pick up from where I left off last season.

"We are going up against Leinster who are unbeaten this year and have unbelievable players.

"I'm challenging myself and finding out things, things that the team can do differently coming into such an important bloc of games in Europe and around Christmas."

Read Entire Article