Jack McGrath: I have learned from my mistake

Three-week suspension leaves Ireland loose-head prop eager for game time

Jack McGrath, Ireland, after a press conference

Jack McGRATH has had three weeks to mull over his suspension.

A mistake is only really damaging if you don't learn from it and the rattle of Rory Best's legs gave McGrath pause for consideration.

"It's definitely a learning curve. You're learning all the time in rugby. It's a mistake I, hopefully, will never make again," he said.

"I've definitely learned my lesson. It's a hard rap on the knuckles to take. There's nothing you can really do about it when they sanction you for three weeks."

It was a moment of near madness that took him out of Leinster's final two rounds of The Champions Cup. It could have had far-reaching consequences. Andy Goode's schewed drop goal meant it didn't.


"It was one of those things and it's water under the bridge now. It's something that I should not have done," the Ireland prop admitted.

McGrath's response was to take legal advice and not pursue an appeal.

"I had to delete it from my memory. If you keep thinking about what happened, it will end up dwelling on your mind, then you get annoyed and you're no use to anyone."

The practicalities of the game mean the next mission is coming around the corner.

The Irish Wolfhounds against the English Saxons on Friday could be his ticket back into the big time, one week out from the Six Nations.

"It's a massive opportunity for a lot of guys to put their hands up to try and get into the team to face Italy," he agreed.

"I think I've had a good bit of rugby before now. I've been out on the pitch training and doing scrums and mauls.

"There is no substitution for playing rugby."

The English Saxons will bring to Cork plenty of players on the way up too. There will be nothing handed to McGrath, just the jersey.

"With guys like Henry Thomas and Kieran Brookes, who, hopefully, I will be coming up against this weekend, they're pretty strong operators. I will have to be on top form."

The suspension has taken away McGrath's move to Ireland's legitimate number one ahead of provincial teammate Cian Healy who has had to deal with the greater issue of long-term injury.

Where does he stand in the pecking order? "It's hard to know. Obviously, I started in the November Series. I started two games. You can look at it like that, but then a couple of bad games and you've quality players behind you ready to take your spot.

"I think it's a good dynamic what's happening. There's Cian myself, Killer (Dave Kilcoyne) and James Cronin, so there's four good players there fighting for one position. I think to try and get the better of each other, it's just about playing better rugby and that's better for the team."