Wednesday 18 September 2019

Conway eager to channel his nerves in the right manner

Munster flyer Andrew Conway has learned not to take anything for granted, especially when it comes to international honours. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster flyer Andrew Conway has learned not to take anything for granted, especially when it comes to international honours. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

While there are a lot of big club games between now and then, the next two months or so until the Six Nations will feel like a very long time for those on the fringes of Joe Schmidt's plans.

This evening's game against the USA provides some players with their first chance of the month to impress, while for others, they get a second shot at staking their claim.

November has been a resounding success thus far, and even though it is difficult to see the USA derailing the feel-good atmosphere, the Ireland players are motivated by their own personal ambitions as well as the collective.

Throughout his career, Andrew Conway has learned not to take anything for granted, especially when it comes to international honours. It is a surprise that the 26-year-old is set to win just his 10th cap later on, but injuries have played their part in that tally not being even more.

"For all international games I am quite nervous," the Munster flyer admits.

"It's a massive stage regardless if it's your first game, if it's your 10th game, if it's your 50th game.

"We do realise, or I realise, how big it is because that's the last thing Joe will be analysing for the next few weeks.

"We are well aware of that. That's the case with every Ireland international. If you haven't broken into that starting XV and you get a chance in any game, you know that it's a huge game.

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Frustrations

"I probably have a few frustrations over Chicago against Italy that I just didn't get involved as much as I could have for various reasons.

"Sometimes that happens on the wing where it's just not coming your way. I need to be better at coming off my wing - bossing work and moving lads around and getting my hands on the ball."

Facing the USA, Conway, as well as Jordi Murphy, will come up against their former schoolmate Dylan Fawsitt, who starts on the bench for the visitors.

The hooker, who played blindside during his time in Blackrock, started the 2009 Leinster Schools Senior Cup final, when Conway was at full-back and Murphy captained 'Rock to glory alongside Fawsitt in the pack.

"Yeah, yeah, 'The Butcher', I've known him since first year in school," Conway says of Fawsitt, a Wexford native.

"I'll tell you one thing about him, I remember I had gear from Irish U-18s and I was giving it to the lads.

"I went to give it to him or I said, 'Here, there's a bit of gear for you' and he said, 'No, no, I'll get my own gear'. I said 'Are you sure?' and he said 'Yeah, yeah, I'll play international rugby myself'.

"I was like, 'Fair play to you' and then he went about it the right way. To be honest, he would have been laughed at by a lot of people who were going, 'You don't have a chance' but where there's a will, there's a way and he went off and he found an alternate route.

"Obviously when he was younger he would have dreamed of playing for Ireland but he's gone off and carved a niche for him and I'm sure the Americans have taken to him with the personality he has.

"He's not short of confidence and well able for a bit of chat but it's inspiring stuff to be honest, watching someone go off and chase their dream.

"He hasn't had it easy over there, he's working, he's coaching, he's doing all sorts, he's getting buses, subways, to training, he's living far out so I take a great amount of motivation watching someone I grew up with doing something like that.

"Myself and Jordi will probably be competing to get a US jersey off him."

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