Thursday 18 October 2018

I'll be ready to play my part as soon as I am given the chance

Player Diary

Jack O'Donoghue of Munster scores his side's third try against the Dragons. Picture: Sportsfile
Jack O'Donoghue of Munster scores his side's third try against the Dragons. Picture: Sportsfile

Jack O'Donoghue

There was always going to be a few tough calls this week as the match-day 23 was settled on for tomorrow's game with Leicester Tigers.

While the international lads trained hard and played well with Ireland, the rest of the squad that were in Munster and played against Dragons, Zebre and Ospreys hardly put a foot wrong. A lot of lads have put their hands up for selection over the last number of games. 

Lads will probably feel that some of the calls were tough, guys were definitely disappointed to miss out on this weekend.

Training was intense, quick and sharp all week, but when the team was named a good few of the lads were very disappointed not to make the cut. You can question the calls, but you have to put the team first.

Last weekend was a great warm-up for us and the convincing win meant humour was good afterwards, but once we reviewed the game from the weekend we went straight into European mode.

From a personal point of view I was very happy. I am really enjoying my rugby and the way I'm playing at the moment.

With a new coach in, there is that bit of excitement around training and all the lads are eager to impress Johann.

I think that shows in the way we have played in the last few weeks. We are playing a great attacking style of rugby and we are scoring lots of tries.


I think we have a solid game-plan that's developing all the time. In our own 22 we won't mess around, but by all means if the ball is kicked to us and the back-three see a chance they'll go for it.

They have been absolutely deadly in the last few games. The counter-attack has been phenomenal.

Zeebs is in form, Wootton is playing great rugby at the moment and Sweets has come back from Irish camp full of confidence.

It's brilliant, there is a good buzz around there and we're really starting to make those line-breaks from deep in our own half.

The nice interlocking play with forwards and backs make for an enjoyable and exciting game of rugby to watch and play.

I was one of the lucky ones to get my name on the scoresheet again, but if I didn't score that one I'd have been slagged to bits.

It came from one of their exit lineouts and they threw it over the top. Copey got a great turnover on their line and the ball popped out and Rhys got his hands on it.

In the meantime I had gone up to challenge for the lineout and fell flat on my back, so I was the lucky one out wide to accept the pass and fall over the line.

I didn't score against Zebre, but I got one the week before against Dragons, so maybe Irish Independent Park is my lucky ground now!

While it's really enjoyable the way we are playing, the underlying issue at the moment is that our discipline hasn't been up to scratch.

We have let that creep into our game and we need to get rid of it early with such a busy block of games in the festive season.

We will be playing top sides in the Champions Cup and the PRO14, you can't afford to be giving away silly penalties.

I was as guilty as anyone last weekend and I picked up a needless yellow card. It's not good enough and shouldn't be in our game. We shouldn't have to be told, but it was still pointed out to us and we looked at a few ways of how we can eradicate it from our game completely. 

Peter O'Mahony obviously spoke about it - it is something that he feels very strongly about - and Johann is very much on the same wavelength.

It is something that was highlighted during the week and it is at the front of everyone's mind now. It's a non-negotiable and something that we'll put right tomorrow.

I was a bit frustrated to miss out on Ireland camp because I thought I started the season well.

I was enjoying my rugby after a quiet summer tour, so to have limited game-time in the big games was frustrating again.

So when the Dragons game came around, I took it as an opportunity to vent some of that and all of a sudden that turns into motivation.


I know I had a couple of top guys ahead of me in Pete and CJ for those Champions Cup games - one is a Lions captain and the other is a Lions Test player. But at the end of the day you can't be worrying about what they can do. If you feel you are performing well enough you'll be ready when you're called upon.

I have always seen myself as a ball-playing back-row and hopefully that's something that Johann will like in his team.

All I can do is do what I'm good at and if that's what gets me in the team then so be it. If not, you have to try and keep the head down and keep working away.

The Tigers will pose a huge test. Any English team coming to Thomond Park in the Champions Cup for a Saturday night clash will be buoyed by the chance to take us on.

Look back to 12 months ago we put a good score on them and held them scoreless, but the next week they went out and beat us at Welford Road. They'll still be smarting from that loss though.

I know they didn't get the results in the last couple of weeks against Wasps or Worcester, but before the international window they were bang on form. With the drive of a European game here they'll be buzzing with excitement.

With both teams tied at the top of the pool the game takes on another edge, as if any more was needed for a Munster-Leicester fixture in the Champions Cup.

It's an exciting challenge for everyone.

Irish Independent

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