Wednesday 20 February 2019

'It's not so much about hard work, it's working smarter too'

The Big Interview: Calvin Nash

Dream come true: Calvin Nash’s Munster career is in its infancy but he hopes to have many memorable occasions in the famous red jersey. Photo: Sportsfile
Dream come true: Calvin Nash’s Munster career is in its infancy but he hopes to have many memorable occasions in the famous red jersey. Photo: Sportsfile

Daragh Small

Like many other 21-year-olds, Calvin Nash has vowed to put his phone to one side in the New Year as even more of his attention switches to his Munster first-team aspirations with 2019 promising to be another tantalising prospect.

The winger has only played eight times for Munster since his senior debut away to Edinburgh at Myreside in the old PRO12, in February 2017.

But a recent ankle injury meant he couldn't add many appearances in the first half of the current campaign.

The low-grade syndesmosis and ruptured ligament meant for an extended spell on the sidelines but it gave Nash some valuable time to assess his own options away from the game too.

"I started a body massage course recently just to keep myself ticking over with that. I was in college doing pharmaceuticals at the time but I had to defer the year because I was too busy with my rugby," says Nash.

"I was interested in the body massage and I found out that I could do it online. If the knowledge of that helps me get a one per cent increase in the way I perform then why not try it out.

"It's just mostly a masseuse. We have people who come in and do body massages on us and rubs for muscle improvement, and it's more along the lines of that rather than physiotherapy really.

"I want to get off my phone a bit more this year too. I am very bad for being on it all the time. I need to chat people a bit more.

"Myself and the lads met up the last day and we were checking out our screen time on our phones. I was nearly double the other lads so something needs to change there."

Nash is a native of Crecora in Co Limerick and his family have moved into the city centre where they have recently made their home near Munster's main home ground now in Thomond Park.

He lives there along with brothers Brendan (14) and Jordan (17) who both attend his former secondary school Crescent College Comprehensive and play for the junior and senior cup sides, respectively.

Dream

They all dream of wearing the Munster jersey, and having signed a brand new development contract before the start of 2018-'19, the eldest brother in the household is living that dream under the tutelage of former hero Felix Jones in the professional ranks.

"I remember when I was growing up, when I never actually thought I was going to be a winger because I played in the centre. But then I stopped growing so I had to play somewhere else. I played 12 in junior cup in school at CCC, and then 13 for a few years in senior cup, I went onto the wing then after that," says Nash.

"Felix is a good role model for me. He has always been a great player and that has translated to the coaching side of things as well.

"He is young too so it is good to chat to him because he is trying to bring modern things into the game. He is a very good coach and you can relate to him very easily."

Nash started his club rugby career with Young Munster and they have been vital in his recuperation from the ankle injury that he picked up playing for Munster 'A' in the Celtic Cup.

He places huge value on the game-time he has racked up at Tom Clifford Park of late and praised the influence the club has had on his development as a player.

Nash formerly starred for Ireland at underage level where he played at U-18, U-19 and U-20 level and with two tries already in his senior Munster career, it's obvious the talent is there.

"I have been enjoying myself as always. I have been playing rugby. I am keeping my head down and doing what's required," he says.

"I had a bit of setback when I injured my ankle and that kept me out for up to ten weeks. But I was back then with Young Munster, who have been great for me.

"It's great playing with the club especially when I have played with most of the lads in school. It takes a bit of the pressure off when you do go back there just to focus on you and enjoy your rugby while playing rugby as well. It is good to still have that outlet there.

"I just want to get games under my belt now and I am proud of how I worked through the injury, and I am working my way back towards the first 15.

"The Munster coaches just want me to keep working hard and doing what I am doing. It's not so much hard work either, it's working smarter. There are times when I work too hard and then I miss the next play because I am too tired.

"I noticed the more experience that I get and the more you watch video you pick up little things along the way. If you chat to the lads as well, I have noticed the last three years I have been here the experience has helped a lot to make me grow."

Nash's playing career is still in its infancy and he hopes to have many more memorable occasions in red, like when he helped the Munster 'A' team claim the B&I Cup in April 2017. He bagged his two Munster tries against Zebre and the Southern Kings in last year's impressive debut season but he is keen to kick on whenever his next chance to shine comes.

It might take another season or two before he can dislodge the likes of Keith Earls or Andrew Conway from their spots in the Munster first team, but Nash is definitely open to the challenge of what lies ahead.

Camaraderie

"I felt like I was good at rugby from a young age, I enjoyed playing it and that's why I kept it up," he says.

"Besides that it was such a team sport, I did athletics when I was younger and I always felt the pressure was all on me but I like when someone else can push me as well.

"The camaraderie that goes with rugby as well and just being in a team that is what I mostly enjoy about it. Then I suppose the physical aspect of it within the game, I enjoy that too."

For any Munster native involved in the game of rugby, playing for the province is the stuff that dreams are made of. Nash is no different and he is keen to fulfil his potential on the rugby field.

"Playing at Munster is a dream come true for me. I started playing rugby when I was about ten years old. I remember I was watching Ireland playing in the Six Nations and I really wanted to play there too.

"My father brought me out to train with Young Munster and I really wanted to play with Munster from then on. I'm delighted to be here now."

Irish Independent

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