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Kilcoyne keen to impress Joe

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Ireland's Dave Kilcoyne during squad training ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America.  Picture credit: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Ireland's Dave Kilcoyne during squad training ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America. Picture credit: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Ireland's Dave Kilcoyne during squad training ahead of the Ireland Rugby Tour to North America. Picture credit: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

IRELAND prop Dave Kilcoyne believes that the chance to impress new coach Joe Schmidt will drive the tourists to success in North America.

The New Zealander will arrive in Houston on Friday ahead of Saturday's Test against the US Eagles, having spent time in camp with the squad last week in Kildare. He will take a more hands-on role next week in Toronto and Kilcoyne believes his presence will lift the squad.

The Munster loosehead's personal goal is to wrestle the Ireland No1 jersey from Lion Cian Healy in the Leinster man's absence as he looks to end a remarkable season on a high.

A year ago, the 24-year-old Limerick native had started just one game for his province, but comes into the two-week tour to the USA and Canada with six Ireland caps to his name, having started all of Munster's big games this season.

All of those caps were won as a replacement. With Healy away and Ulster's Tom Court the only other loosehead in the squad, Kilcoyne sees this as a chance to push the Leinster man hard next season by starting in front of the new coach at the BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.

"Look, it is a clean slate for everyone," he said at the team base in Texas.

"Joe coming in is great, if you look at his record for Leinster, he has done great and let's hope he can do the same for Irish rugby.

"With a new coach coming in, lads are looking to impress.

"We have two big games coming up with America and Canada. I am putting my best foot forward to make sure I put down a good marker to ensure I can get that No1 jersey going forward. It is a huge test, a huge chance for me and I'm relishing it."

Ireland's 29-man touring squad includes seven new caps and with 10 senior players touring with the Lions and the likes of Eoin Reddan, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls and Donnacha Ryan not travelling, there is a lack of experience. But Kilcoyne sees it as a positive.

"Look, the more competition for places brings out the best in players. There is a lot of competition for places, but you have to back yourself in these situations," he said.


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