Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dave Kilcoyne - "It's a very competitive environment"

Dave Kilcoyne in training for Munster
Dave Kilcoyne in training for Munster

Dave Kilcoyne

It may have been just 24 minutes, but it was a great feeling to get some game time under my belt for the first time this season.

It seems like six months since I last played out in Argentina and maybe it was just watching on from the sidelines at all the other lads this last few weeks that exaggerated the wait, but to finally run out at Thomond Park again was special.

So to crown it all with a nice try to get me off the mark for the season was sweet. I'm sure I could have finished one off like Zeebs with a flying run down the wing, but for now I'm happy with the two-yard break to get across the line for a try!

In all seriousness, though, I struggled to find the pace of the game when I came on. It's always like that in your first game of the season, but when you are chasing lads who have three or four games under their belt it makes it all the harder.

You tend to blow hard for a while, but I am happy to have that out of my way now and I'm sure I will be in a better place going forward. It's five points, a good win, everything went to plan on that front.

But when we dissected the game and spoke about it afterwards, we had to acknowledge that it was not the perfect day out.

Clinical

In all reality we could probably have been more clinical in a lot of things. Our defence was pretty good in general, but there was one or two missed tackles along the way. And it was a shame to concede the try late on, which denied us the shut-out.

We talked at half-time about holding onto the ball and building pressure and I think the lads did that pretty well. In fact, my try came from that; it was on the back of good work by the rest of the forwards and I was just the lucky one to get on the end of it.

But wins are all that matters at the end of the day. It's no good shooting the lights out and losing. We've now got two good victories to our name and it's important that we kick on from those at Thomond again tomorrow against the Ospreys. They will definitely be a tougher test going by their early-season form.

We are playing against the team that's at the top of the league so we have to be on our toes. They looked very convincing on their way to a huge win over Edinburgh at the weekend so I think we will have our work cut out for us. I've been very impressed with them so far.

We won't be facing some of the familiar faces that we would have in the last few years as a good few of them seem to have moved on. Adam Jones is gone to Cardiff, but in Aaron Jarvis and Dan Suter they have a couple of really good tightheads who will be tough opponents tomorrow.

They will miss Ryan Bevington though. He is an excellent prop with loads of experience, but being able to call on an international like Jarvis is no weakness.

Their main man is Dan Biggar though - he orchestrates everything for them and alongside him Rhys Webb is also in good form as he showed with his two tries last week against Edinburgh. They are a fine side, so we need to be on the ball against them.

It turned out to be a busy week for me with Ireland camp taking place in Carton House on Sunday and Monday after the game last Friday. It was a fairly intensive camp because everyone is keen to get as much detailed information logged and work done as possible in the two days .

With the November series just around the corner, which is quickly followed by the Six Nations, you get a very limited amount of time together. As Joe always says, 'It's all about the new lads catching up and the other lads pushing on'. That couple of days was all about trying to be as prepared as possible for the next time we meet up.

After we got back to base we had the squad session in UL on Tuesday, which was a bit more controlled this week in terms of work rate seeing as a good few of us had two heavy days behind us already.

That Tuesday session seems to have gotten a bit of a reputation for being the toughest of the week, but I find it a great way to keep the body ticking ahead of the weekend.

Axel and the rest of the coaches like to get a contact session in as often as possible when the weeks allow and I find that any time you get a physical blow like that you tend to play well at the weekend, it stands to you.

It really makes a big difference when you can leave the pads aside for a while and tear into each other. It's a competitive environment and everyone wants to be in the first XV.

For anyone that is outside the team it's a great chance to catch the eye so lads are always chomping at the bit and that makes it very competitive, which is the way you want it.

But you can really feel it ramping up now. We have Ospreys tomorrow, Leinster the week after, then Scarlets and the Champions Cup comes along then. It's a busy few weeks we have ahead of us so everyone needs to be in flying form.

At the same time I think we have to be careful not to look too far ahead because it's easy to get caught that way.

I will be just looking at the Ospreys this week, focusing on putting in as big a performance as I can to make sure I'm in the starting team in the weeks ahead. If I do that regularly, everything else will work out and European honours and international call-ups should follow.

That's the plan anyway, so step one is a big performance tomorrow and hopefully a win against Ospreys.

Irish Independent

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