Saturday 21 April 2018

O'Leary hopes good form for Exiles earns Ireland recall

Paul Dollery

TOMAS O'LEARY hopes he has done enough to earn a place in the Ireland squad for next month's internationals against South Africa and Argentina.

O'Leary has been in superb form since moving from Munster to London Irish, but he was left out of a 33-man Ireland squad for a recent training camp.

The Cork-born scrum-half appears to be back to his best, however, having started all eight games for London Irish so far this season, including Saturday's 69-26 win over Mont-de-Marsan in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Ireland boss Declan Kidney will name his squad for the November internationals tomorrow.

O'Leary has been restricted to just two substitute appearances for Ireland since being overlooked for last year's World Cup, but the 29-year-old has received rave reviews for his performances for London Irish, with Exiles head coach Brian Smith declaring that he's "too good not to be starting" for Ireland.

happy

"Being over here (in England) probably doesn't help but I've been playing a lot of rugby and I've been happy with how I've done," O'Leary said.

"If that proves to be good enough then brilliant, but if not I'll keep going and enjoying my rugby with London Irish.

"I'm at the stage now where I'm just really, really happy to be back playing regular rugby. I do still have ambitions to play for Ireland. I'd love to be involved in the games in November, but if I'm not I'll keep my head down and try to get back in for the Six Nations.

"If that doesn't work out I'll keep working hard and see if I can get back in for the summer tour. I've always loved playing for Ireland and I'll do everything I can on the field to try and make it happen, whether that's next month or next year.

"It's a long time since I've played this many games in a row and I feel much sharper for it. I haven't enjoyed my rugby as much as I am at the moment for years -- whether that's down to injury, selection or whatever -- but there's a lot to be said for just getting a regular run of games. It's what every player wants and I'm finally doing that again."

Irish Independent

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