Sunday 25 March 2018

O'Loughlin eager to get over Six Nations snub

Rory O'Loughlin. Photo: Sportsfile
Rory O'Loughlin. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Deep down, this week must have been a case of mixed emotions for Rory O'Loughlin.

On one hand, he was delighted to see his uncapped team-mate Barry Daly called into the Ireland squad, but on the other he knows that it might well have been him.

Missing Leinster's Champions Cup games before Christmas through injury damaged O'Loughlin's chances of earning a recall and building on last summer's debut.

Daly too has had his injury problems but there is a feeling that had the Leinster flyer been fit for November, he may have earned his first cap.

As it is, O'Loughlin was left out of the squad and is now playing catch-up as he looks to force his way back into Joe Schmidt's plans.

"It is kinda tough," the 24-year-old admitted.

"You just have to get on with it. Joe rang me again to explain the decision. You really just have to put yourself in the shop window by playing the European games.

"That was my goal coming up to those games. I didn't really gain enough momentum or form consistently enough to get selected.

"I was still hoping there would be an outside chance but I kinda knew I wouldn't be in it. It was the same reason as in November. That took a day or two to get over that. Then you focus on what's next.

"There is an opportunity here (at Leinster) to get games. There are four games and I hope to be involved in the majority of them.

"I will look to get momentum and form and get selected when the European games come around again."

O'Loughlin revealed that Schmidt has told him that he primarily sees him as an outside centre, for now at least, so he is hoping to get plenty of game time in midfield over the next few weeks.

"It's strange, I haven't played much on the wing this year," he added.

"Joe was talking to me about that as well. He sees me more as a 13 at the moment.

"You have to be playing in the position week in, week out to step up to the international level.

"Further down the line, you want to settle in one position because it is very hard to be world-class in two positions."

Irish Independent

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