D'Arcy ready for 17th season

Date published: August 6 2014

Leinster centre Gordon D'Arcy has revealed that he is making the most of an altitude tent as his career extends into a 17th season.

Ireland and Leinster centre Gordon D'Arcy has revealed that he is making the most of an altitude tent as his career extends into a 17th season.

The 34-year-old made his Leinster debut all the way back in 1998, and will be part of Matt O'Connor's squad that will be looking to make it three straight PRO12 titles, as well as a better showing in the Champions Cup.

But in order to overcome all the knocks that come with playing professional rugby, D'Arcy has decided to use an altitude tent to ease the pressure on his joints.

“This is my 17th season, so I have 16 years of bangs, bruises and bumps, so I can't do what I was able to do four or five years ago.

“I can still train as hard as all the lads, it just has to be in different ways,” he told the Irish Times.

“I'm sure you've all heard of our good friend the altitude tent. That takes an awful lot of the trauma off your joints so I'm spending an awful lot of time in there.

“It's one of the most horrific experiences of my life. It reduces the amount of oxygen in the air. It is like training at 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 feet.

“You are running with half the volume of air in the tent. You can literally pass out if you do too much.

“The lactic burn you get in there is pretty horrific. We have done altitude training when we have gone to South Africa and gone up to (Blue) Bulls territory. We did work with masks. We did it with Ireland.

“We did it with The Lions. There is no hiding. You run and your legs stop working and you've a burn in your chest that just won't go away.”

Last season was a disappointing one on a European front for Leinster, as they fell in the quarter-finals of the last-ever Heineken Cup to eventual winners Toulon.

But after claiming a second straight PRO12 title, as well as back-to-back British and Irish Cups, D'Arcy claims the season was far from a disaster.

However, after being named in a pool with Harlequins, Wasps and Castres for the inaugural edition of the European Rugby Champions Cup, D'Arcy is eager to help Leinster get back to winning ways.

“We don't define ourselves by Heineken Cups,” he added.

“There's three competitions available in the season and obviously the hardest of those is the Champions Cup, but you want to be winning your domestic league and winning the British & Irish Cup.

“We are the first team to defend that back-to-back and we put both trophies back-to-back, so that was a huge positive for us in a season that we made very hard for ourselves by losing that Northampton game at home and having to go to the eventual champions away and then not performing that day.

“They're not excuses, but that's the way the season panned out.”