Sport Rugby

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Sherry has bit between teeth as he looks to catch Kidney's eye

John Fallon

Hooker Mike Sherry is hoping that an extended run of games in the starting 15 for Munster might result in the rekindling of his Irish international chances, but for now the 24-year-old just wants to get the Reds back to winning ways.

The Limerick native has been battling with Damien Varley for the No 2 jersey at Munster since Jerry Flannery retired, but Sherry has stolen a march in the last couple of months.

He has started the last seven games, with Varley not getting the nod since the opening-day defeat in the Heineken Cup away to Racing Metro.

Sherry, who played schools and U-19 for Ireland, was drafted into the World Cup squad as precautionary cover for the injured Rory Best and was included in the Ireland squad for the three-match tour to New Zealand in June, but he has yet to make his full international debut.

But while Sherry has stepped up to be top of the pile in Munster, the qualification and emergence of Richardt Strauss has pushed him further down the ranking in the international arena. "Varls got sick for the Cardiff match and from there I just got a run of games, so obviously I'm happy," said Sherry (pictured right).

"When you have the starting jersey you're seen as being No 1, if you're sharing it you're competing with more people, but I still wouldn't discount Varls because I compete with him down here on a daily basis. It's not my jersey, I'm just getting a bit of a run of games, so I'm enjoying it."

Sherry said the main priority now was to bounce back from the disappointment of losing away to Saracens by strengthening their claim for a top-four place in the Pro12 when they travel to play Connacht on Saturday.

And he does not expect anything easy from Eric Elwood's men.

"They were viewed once upon a time as the whipping boys but not any more. Heading there is difficult and we know we're in for a right battle," he said.

"Our set-piece has to be good and our desire has to be there, we have to want it more than them.

"It's brilliant to see them winning big games in Europe and getting a foothold in the competition. Unfortunately they couldn't back up (the win over Biarritz) but the conditions they had to play in were atrocious.

"It's always tough going up there."

Irish Independent

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