Penney tips Kilcoyne for 'long career in green jersey'
MUNSTER coach Rob Penney has tipped Dave Kilcoyne for a long international career after the prop was included in the Irish squad for the first time -- less than a year after making his provincial debut.
The 23-year-old, who is in his first full-time contract with Munster having been in the academy for two years, has earned the call-up on the back of several solid displays this season -- he has started both Heineken Cup clashes.
Keith Earls and Ronan O'Gara are both included in the squad despite injury, but Penney said they should recover and be available for some of the autumn internationals.
The Munster coach said that the strides made by Kilcoyne was an example to young players of how quickly they can scale the ladder.
"It is fantastic, it is really exciting. It shows with perseverance and a guy who has committed himself totally to the game and gives it everything every week, the wider rewards can come.
"He has had some harsh calls (from referees) and we highlighted that, but he is a great kid and should have a long career in the green jersey," added Penney, who wants his side to build on their emphatic Heineken Cup over Edinburgh by winning their first game in three in the Pro12 against Zebre tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, Felix Jones, who came off the bench against Edinburgh for his first action since injuring his shoulder in May, said his main priority now was getting game-time with Munster after a succession of serious injuries over the past few seasons.
The loss of Rob Kearney for the autumn internationals and the ongoing injury to Earls has created an opening at full-back, but Jones is focusing on Munster for now.
"I'm just happy to be back. It has been another long lay-off and I'm fully aware of how lucky I am each time to get back and get back playing. Just even to get out on the pitch and train is a success in itself," said the three-times capped 25-year-old.