Saturday 10 December 2016

Gilroy unveils his route back into Irish fold - it's try, try and try again

Published 03/12/2015 | 02:30

Craig Gilroy
Craig Gilroy

Craig Gilroy firmly believes that he is a better rugby player than the one that bobbed and weaved before delivering a knockout blow to stun Argentina three years ago - he's just waiting for the opportunity to show Joe Schmidt.

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Argentina have developed a fair few duckers and dancers in their ranks since Gilroy wowed the Aviva Stadium with a dizzying touchline jig on his official debut in green - as Irish rugby supporters discovered to their cost when the sides met in this year's sobering World Cup quarter-final.

The Latinos have not been averse to including those of a diminutive stature in their side; although Gilroy is dismissed as a relative "lightweight" compared to contemporary Irish wing titans such as Tommy Bowe, the Puma's stand-out footballer, Santiago Cordero, is even smaller and lighter than Gilroy.

However, Irish rugby's recent success in the Six Nations has been predominantly based upon size and strength rather than skill and subtlety; that Gilroy didn't even get a pre-World Cup audition perhaps tells its own tale of where Ireland's current priorities lie.

Although defensively he has struggled within the collective coaching upheaval at Ulster - the fourth in five years, remarkably, though Gilroy is at pains to play this down - the Belfast man's unerring knack of crossing the whitewash remains unimperilled.

The leading try-scorer for his province last season leads the charts already this term; and, should Ireland decide to alter their rigid tactical approach this spring, Gilroy could be primed to add to his six caps.

"My form is good. I mean I'm still top try-scorer for Ulster which I'm hoping to continue on," he says.

"A few of our performances haven't been great in terms of getting our hands on the ball but I'm just trying to do as much as possible.

"For me, it is about playing as well as I can for Ulster and then hopefully get a chance for Ireland.

"I think I'm a better player now, in fact I know I'm a player now than I was when I first played for Ireland. That is a big confidence booster for me."

Under Armour athletes Craig Gilroy and Jordi Murphy were on Dublin's Great South Wall training in Under Armour Storm performance product. For more info go to http://www.underarmour.eu/en-ie

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