Former England captain Dylan Hartley admits his omission from Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad remains causing him to have sleepless nights.
The Northampton hooker was made out of the 31-man squad for the tournament of England, having failed to defeat.
Hartley, who has 97 caps for England, had expected to bow out of international rugby on a high in Japan, and it is coming to terms with being denied the opportunity.
“When the World Cup group has been announcedit was almost like I’d died – friends touch base and seeing if I was OK,” Hartley said.
“Ultimately, the way I looked at my whole Xmas career and how I needed it to pan out, and also how it was goingwas that this might have become the greatest send-off, the fantasy finish into an worldwide career.
“The simple fact is you pick up an injury.
“For 3 years we’ve talked about winning the World Cup with Eddie, and I have headed that group, been part of that journey, to fall at the final hurdle… I do not understand the sensation.
“I wake up most nights thinking about it. It will not sit well with me, but I have come to terms with it. You need to crack on.”
Hartley believes England have a superb probability of being the group that his omission to take care of, and which lifts the Webb Ellis Cup at Yokohama City on November 2.
“I genuinely think England (will win), they have got as good a opportunity to go and get it done,” he explained.
“The strangest thing for me would be to think if my leg was not [hurt ] at the minute I could be there together winning a World Cup. It is really hard to swallow, indeed.
“I hope they go and win. I will get on and be a glory supporter – remember me guys?
“I’ll be hanging from the face of this open-top bus, within my 97th (look ) shirt.”
As representing club side Northampton in a Gallagher Premiership clash with Worcester nine months 25, hartley has not featured at any level of rugby.
The 33-year-old admits his knee injury aggravated from trying to rush back for the World Cup.
“I tried an (initial) approach with my knee, a very aggressive strategy, since I was given a few deadlines to meet, along with the aggressive strategy didn’t work,” said Hartley.
“I basically ended up at a worse position for trying to return too early. Ever since that happened, I knew I was not going to create the (World Cup) deadline.
“It was about the beginning of the camps, when they first got together around the start of July. I tried return for this and basically put myself in a tiny hole physically and mentally.”
Hartley lately spent a fortnight at Philadelphia working together with strength and conditioning specialist Bill Knowles, whose clients include Andy Murray, also feels that therapy was advantageous.
“Everyone asks when you are coming back but I have learned that you do not place a time period on it, because when you are 10 days from it and you know you’re nowhere near, you are able to play these games in your head and it’s tough,” Hartley added.
“At the moment, I’m constructing my tolerance to be able to run every day and participate every day.”
Read more: ufc odds