Tuesday 23 January 2018

Archer insists critics' barbs only fuel hunger to succeed

Munster prop Stephen Archer
Munster prop Stephen Archer

John Fallon

Munster prop Stephen Archer, who was singled out for some harsh criticism following Ireland's poor display against Australia, says he uses such broadsides as motivation.

The 25-year-old, who won his second cap against the Wallabies having made his debut against Italy in the Six Nations, said that no player likes to be targeted for criticism, but he accepts it comes with the territory when you are a professional rugby player.

The Cork player did not feature in Sunday's clash with the All Blacks and made an appearance off the bench in Munster's win over Cardiff after being released from Irish camp.

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"Pundits are paid to do that kind of thing, but I'm not particularly bothered. Friends and family were saying it to me, but you just brush it off and move on and just concentrate on the next performance.

"I'd use it as a source of motivation. It's obviously not a nice thing to be criticised on national TV, but that's the job we're in. Use it as a source of motivation, move on and get on with the job."

Archer was drafted in during the final quarter of that dismal display against Australia when Ireland were well on their way to a 32-15 loss. "It was a tough scenario, the way the match was going, but, at the same time, it's such an honour to represent your country, so you're dying to get out on the pitch.

"Going on in that situation, you're just trying to help the lads out there. They're out on their feet after defending for 60 minutes, so you just try and help out. Australia were in good form that day and it wasn't great, you know, for me or the team."

Archer was among the small number of players who began last week preparing to face the All Blacks and by the end of the week were back in action for their clubs. "From training I kind of knew, I didn't get a feeling I was going to be in and when the team was announced on the Wednesday, you just mentally prepare yourself.

"The team was announced and I left that afternoon after training. It was easy enough coming back to the lads (at Munster). I came back and trained on Thursday, flew over Friday and the match was Saturday.

"I was on the bench last weekend and the lads did a great job in the first half. It was easy coming on in the second half after a good performance like that and, hopefully, now this week we'll drive it on and get the win over in Wales again," said Archer ahead of their clash with Dragons tomorrow night.

He said Munster are anxious to hold on to top spot in the Pro12 going into the Heineken Cup clashes against Perpignan, but with the Reds having been turned over 30-24 in Rodney Parade in April, Archer is taking nothing for granted in Newport tomorrow night.

"It's a difficult place to go and historically Munster teams haven't gone so well over there, but fellahs will be trying to put their hand up before the Heineken matches in two weeks," he added.

Irish Independent

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