Monday 18 December 2017

I'm doing everything to force Schmidt to pick me -- Kilcoyne

Munster's Dave Kilcoyne
Munster's Dave Kilcoyne

Declan Rooney

Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne hopes that he has done enough to earn a recall to Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad for their upcoming training camp early next week.

Kilcoyne was surprisingly axed from the international squad for the Autumn Internationals and didn't even get an invite to take part in the extended squad.

However, he says he has worked hard on Schmidt's 'snag list' and feels that the added competition for places at Munster is helping his progression.

"I haven't heard anything yet, so I'll wait and see. I'm trying to do everything I can to get into that squad," he said. "I was obviously bitterly disappointed to be left out for the Autumn Internationals and I'll be doing everything in my power to make it a very tough selection to leave me out for the Six Nations.

"Joe rang me and gave me his reason and gave me a couple of things to work on, so I've been trying to pay particular attention to them and trying to make sure where they need to be for international standard.

"But I've been pretty happy with my last couple of performances. I suppose being left out of the November squad gives you that little bit of bitterness and I'm bringing that with me.

"Any time you're left out of the squad, you're going to strive that little bit harder to see what you're missing out on. My form has been good of late and I'll be trying to continue that against the Scarlets," said Kilcoyne, who made his first Munster start against the same opponents in 2012.

This season, Rob Penney has opted for a rotation policy, especially in the front-row, as Kilcoyne (left) and James Cronin share the loosehead work load, while BJ Botha and Stephen Archer vie for the tighthead slot.

Kilcoyne is likely to start against the Scarlets tomorrow after his replacement role last week and he says earning a penalty try at the scrum in Perpignan has given the pack a huge boost.

"It was huge mentally," he said. "It is a huge physical statement to go over there and do that. I think it gave the whole team a bit of a lift. That's what scrum dominance can do. It's important we keep on top of it. But if you look at last year, we had a number of penalty tries and we had a number of pushover tries and it's continued again this year.

"Rob has really taken a hold of our scrum and he's pushing it forward, and it's something we're continually monitoring and building on.

"It's an area where we look to gain dominance on other teams.

"From my own point of view, last year was my first season of being a regular starter and you bring a bit of maturity every year.

"You move on. I think the whole squad is maturing and I think our game plan is fully into fruition now and everyone believes it."

Irish Independent

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