Sport Rugby

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ireland not on radar for Hayes the younger

Hayes: Club focus
Hayes: Club focus

Paul Dollery

TOM HAYES says he's focusing entirely on captaining Exeter Chiefs to another successful season, insisting that his international aspirations are not exactly dominating his thoughts.

The younger brother of Munster prop John has never been capped by Ireland, but is regarded as one of the top second-row forwards in the Premiership, having been named in the English top flight's team of the season for 2010-11 back in May.

The former Bruff and Shannon lock has started this season in a similar vein of form, leading Exeter to a place in the top five with six games played.

Hayes has been plying his trade across the water since moving to Plymouth Albion in 2005 and now qualifies to play for England at international level. The 31-year-old has admitted previously that he would give consideration to a potential England call-up.

"If my form for Exeter did end up putting me on the international radar with Ireland then so be it," Hayes said yesterday.

"But as things stand, as far as I know, I've never really been on the radar anyway. I'll continue to focus purely on Exeter and if anything does come up, great, but if not, it won't be a surprise anyway. My priority is to play my part in trying to help the club to move forward."

When asked if he'd consider a move home to one of the four provinces in order to boost his international hopes, Hayes was non-committal.

He said: "I wouldn't rule out something like that, but it's a hypothetical situation, so it's impossible to answer. I haven't even thought of that.

"All my focus is on Exeter and there are plenty of things I want to achieve here, like getting into the Heineken Cup, for example. That'd be a first for the club and a massive achievement."

Irish Independent

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