Thursday 19 October 2017

Gibson-Park hungry for European glory after getting a taste

Jamison Gibson-Park hopes for future European glory. SPORTSFILE
Jamison Gibson-Park hopes for future European glory. SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

During his Super Rugby days, Jamison Gibson-Park played in his fair share of big games but few compared to the atmosphere generated in Lyon last Sunday.

The Clermont supporters are renowned for their passion and the colour they bring, and the 'Yellow Army' along with the hordes of Leinster fans made it an unforgettable occasion.

The result might not have gone Leinster's way but for Gibson-Park, who hasn't experienced a European clash like that before, it has fuelled the fire to ensure that they go one step further next season.

"I've played in front of 40,00 before but nothing like that," Gibson-Park enthused.

"It was probably quite similar to South Africa. They're pretty passionate about their footy. They turn out and they're pretty loud.

"In fairness to them (Clermont fans), they were pretty good after the game as well. They came up to us and said hello and hard luck so it's not like they were hostile or anything."

The game has been reviewed and Leo Cullen and his coaching staff have urged their players to take the positives from the defeat.

Chance

"Obviously the result didn't go our way in the end but we gave ourselves a chance," Gibson-Park maintained.

"We couldn't close it out, which is disappointing. It obviously hurts but that's the nature of the beast. We've got the climb back on the board and look forward to the back end of the season.

"Credit where credit is due, Clermont were pretty classy and they took their chances. We obviously could have done a few things better and that is disappointing but we'll use it for the end of the season.

"It's pretty awesome that we've still got a chance to close out the season with some silverware.

"It hurts, but it gives you a burning desire to want to be there again, and hopefully get the result that time.

"We're generally pretty young and to have that experience so early on in their career, some of the guys like Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose, it's going to be massive for them moving forward, and for Leinster as a whole.

"We've got our home semi-final, we'll give that everything we've got and hopefully get a home final in the Aviva. That's a massive driving factor for us also."

Gibson-Park has had to bide his time as he looks to usurp Luke McGrath for the first-choice scrum-half spot.

Wrestle

McGrath has had a fine season which has also been recognised on the international stage, and while his Kiwi rival insists that the competition for places is healthy, his goal next season is to wrestle that jersey from him.

"It can be disappointing week-to-week," the 25-year-old former Chiefs player conceded.

"You obviously want to be starting those matches but it's the nature of the beast. You have to stay on board because we've all got a role to play.

"If I'm coming off the bench to try and close out those games, so be it. I wouldn't like to think I was giving it to him easy but it is good to have that competition in the squad.

"I would like to think that the coaching staff would pick on form.

"If you're going out there and performing every week, then you should get a shot at the jersey.

"I'd like to think that we are putting pressure on each other for the jersey. It's very healthy to have that within the group."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport