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Jamison Parks Irish ambition

Scrum-half will be Ireland qualified for the World Cup

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TOP FORM: Jamison Gibson-Park on his way to scoring Leinster’s fourth try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Dragons at the RDS . Pic: Sportsfile

TOP FORM: Jamison Gibson-Park on his way to scoring Leinster’s fourth try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Dragons at the RDS . Pic: Sportsfile

TOP FORM: Jamison Gibson-Park on his way to scoring Leinster’s fourth try during the Guinness PRO14 match against Dragons at the RDS . Pic: Sportsfile

The distance from Conor Murray to all those in his wake in Irish rugby is long.

The all-quiet-on-the-southern-front stance over Murray's neck injury is enough to spread worry.

How serious is the problem? How long will he be out? No one outside of Munster and the Ireland hierarchy know that answer.

This increases the attention on which of those in behind can step out of the pack. Luke McGrath is not necessarily playing catch-up on Kieran Marmion and John Cooney.

The Leinster scrum-half needed the summer to allow his ankle to recover from a hectic finale to last season.

The form of Cooney has been blown out of proportion because he has had those big moments for Ulster last season and this with his running game and goal-kicking.

However, the speed of his service can be ponderous and inaccurate, things Joe Schmidt can't abide.

Marmion is a real battler, a breaking, scrapping scrum-half, who has worked diligently on the basics of the position without mastering them just yet.

Half-back McGrath, a natural leader, could well face his greatest challenge from a man inside his own tent.

Jamison Gibson-Park put on a Man of the Match show against the Dragons as Leinster made it two wins out of three in Conference B.

Granted, the Blues were rolling forward at will in what was a dream scenario for any nine.

When it was suggested the New Zealander must feel a part of the furniture at the club, an armchair came to mind for the ride he received at The RDS.

When asked about his interest in playing for Ireland, the affable, easy-going Kiwi buttoned up.

"I'm petty focused on just trying to become more of a complete player in the blue of Leinster.

"That's pretty much the only thing on my mind footy-wise," he said.

"It's probably a conversation for another day and it's still a long way off.

"It's not really anything I have thought about, to be honest."

You can take this statement with more than a shovel of salt.

Options

He wasn't signed for three years for anything other than to give Ireland greater options.

The way South Africa made New Zealand look human in Wellington did fuel the fire of a competitor.

While Gibson-Park did not want to be cornered into a declaration for Ireland, the lure of playing at the highest level is undeniable.

"It definitely is something that I aspire to do," he said.

"Watching games like that, it would be dream stuff to be out there really.

"But I kinda just have to focus on becoming a more complete player, so I can offer something at international rugby."

What he does offer is a fine footballing brain, a sniper's instinct, a calm demeanour and a serious challenge to McGrath first and, probably, everyone else from next summer.


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