Reid hoping to 'nail down centre spot' for Blues this season
Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30
When Leinster announced the signing of Robbie Henshaw, one wonders what went through Noel Reid's head but the departure of Ben Te'o and the premature retirement of Luke Fitzgerald has opened the door for the former St Michael's College student.
Reid made nine starts last season but will undoubtedly be eager to improve on that tally, starting against Treviso tonight.
The coming season feels like a crucial one in the 26-year-old's career and in his eyes a positive start at the RDS is crucial.
"I'm looking to start well, stay fit and add my kind of game to the team," he says.
"Try nail down one of those centre spots, just try play as well as I can, and hopefully the team does that as well. Just to start well and stay fit I suppose.
"We have a load of combinations, a lot of the young lads played over the pre-season games and they're going really well so it's a really competitive back-line at the moment. We're in a good place."
Reid will have to wait before he can properly begin any potential midfield partnership with Henshaw but he welcomed the healthy competition.
"I'm happy. He's a really good player so its really good to have him the squad," Reid adds.
"I've played with him a few times at Irish camp and trained with him and we kind of linked up well together there, so we'll see what happens. He's a really good player so that can only benefit the squad."
The loss of Kurt McQuilkin will be felt by the entire province but for Reid, who worked closely with the Kiwi defence coach, he admitted that his departure will be tough to take.
"Yeah it's disappointing," he concedes.
"It's obviously tough on Kurt and he's got to go home. Personally, I would have worked closely with him over the last 12 months and done a lot of one-on-one stuff with him, and I thought he helped my game a lot last year.
"He's a really good guy to work with, really positive and I really enjoyed working with him.
"We're going to take each week as it comes and work with what we have.
"We've got really good coaches so I think we'll be fine."
He may only have been with the province for a short stint but Reid believes that Graham Henry can have a long-lasting effect, not just in the season ahead but also further down the line.
"We had a couple of team sessions with him and he kind of added his bit, which was good because he's a really experienced coach and he's worked with the world's best players, so it was good to pick his brain for a couple of things. It was very beneficial."
Leo Cullen has promised that his side will attempt to play a more expansive game, when possible.
The best of Reid is still to come and after several seasons in the senior set-up, he is eager to make his mark.
"I think we're always trying to play like that and play expansive, offloading and stuff," he says.
"Hopefully I can add those bits to my game and to the team, I'm looking forward to it.
"We've been given the licence, as we always have really, to play and back ourselves, so we'll be doing the same this year."