Wednesday 16 October 2019

O'Donnell happy to park disappointment

Tommy O'Donnell during Ireland's warm-up game against Italy. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Tommy O'Donnell during Ireland's warm-up game against Italy. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Tommy O'Donnell is hoping to put his World Cup disappointment behind him as he heads to South Africa with Munster for the first time this week.

The 32-year old won his 13th Irish cap in the World Cup warm-up against Italy but didn't make the final cut for Japan. So now instead of preparing to face Russia yesterday and Samoa next week, he will be lining out against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

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"This will be my first time travelling to South Africa and I'm looking forward to it," said O'Donnell, who was to the forefront as Munster opened their PRO14 campaign with a bonus-point 39-9 win over the Dragons last weekend.

Munster are hoping that a two-week warm-weather camp will help a squad with a lot of young players bond and harden for the season ahead.

O'Donnell was one of the most experienced players at Thomond Park on Saturday and having not played for Munster since last January because of ankle and shoulder injuries, he was pleased with the way so many younger players performed.

"I thought it was a very good performance. The lads know their details, that's what struck me coming back, how they had adapted to the new system, how well they picked it up, and I knew I had to pick it up and play from this playbook.

"So it's good to be back in and to start off with a win. It was a cohesive display that will keep us on track - and it was also good not to concede any tries.

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"There's good interchange in the group, it's something we're really driving at the moment. The players have the skills and with the wet conditions it was good to see they had the confidence to throw the ball and pass it and that it stuck as well.

"We will definitely have good conditions over there unlike today which is not what you expect for the end of September. Even so we did well in the circumstances but we will have to adapt and have a mindset to cope with whatever the weather produces in South Africa," added the Tipperary native.

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