Monday 26 August 2019

O'Shea laughs off Munster link ahead of Aviva showdown

Conor O’Shea has retained just three of the starting 15 who almost shocked France in the Six Nations last March. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor O’Shea has retained just three of the starting 15 who almost shocked France in the Six Nations last March. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Conor O'Shea has ruled himself out of becoming the new Munster CEO, insisting that his sole focus is on getting Italy ready for the World Cup in Japan.

O'Shea is aware that he has been linked to the vacant Munster job. He has been back in Ireland this week, with Limerick providing the base for his team as they prepare for tomorrow's clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The former Ireland full-back has been in Italy's top job for three years and is contracted until the end of the 2019-2020 season.

But with change being muted in Italian rugby after the World Cup, and Munster searching for a new chief executive following the retirement of Garrett Fitzgerald, Limerick native O'Shea would appear to be a very good fit. But yesterday he dismissed such reports.

"No, no," said O'Shea, when asked if he was interested in the vacancy at Munster.

"I read it when I came over here and just had a bit of a laugh at it. It's just World Cup, Six Nations and we will see."

O'Shea has retained just three of the starting 15 who almost shocked France in the Six Nations last March for tomorrow's game.

And while he fancies Ireland to make a strong bid for glory in Japan under Joe Schmidt, he thinks the IRFU have done a nice bit of business by bringing in attack coach Mike Catt as part of the Andy Farrell coaching ticket after the World Cup.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

Catt is the current attack coach with Italy, and O'Shea believes the former England World Cup winner will be a fantastic addition to Ireland.

"When you look at our tries scored over the last couple of years, you look at the style and attack we now have. He will be outstanding," added O'Shea.

"There are good people over here. I wouldn't say there are any missing parts but any new coaching team is going to have new blood and the players need that. He will settle in good and fast."

The Italian backline will be marshalled tomorrow by Carlo Canna, but Ian McKinley is set to win his ninth cap off the bench.

O'Shea said McKinley is an inspirational figure after battling back to play at the highest level despite losing the sight in his left eye.

"It is amazing and he is an amazing bloke," said the Italy coach.

"When you hear my Italian it's rubbish, it's the Irish accent in it, but Ian speaks like a local. Everything he does is that little bit special."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport