Masterson aims to follow brother's path
Seán Masterson is hoping to follow in his older brother Eoghan's footsteps, as he chases his dream of becoming a professional rugby player.
The Connacht Academy flanker, who played four times for the Ireland U-20s last year, starts on the bench for tomorrow's Six Nations opener against France.
Since returning from a career-threatening knee injury, Eoghan Masterson has been in fine form for Connacht and Sean says he inspires him to get to where he wants to go.
"Big time, since I was young, I suppose, I have always looked up to him," Masterson said. "He captained Leinster U-18s and captained the Irish Youths. I used to look at him and think, 'Jeez, this looks all right.'
"He made it look easier than it is. I decided to put my mind to doing those things as well. I have always wanted to match what he has done. So far, so good.
"At U-20 level, he didn't play a year young and I have. He has made a good pathway for me and he's doing well for himself as well."
Masterson's experience could be crucial in Bordeaux tomorrow night as Noel McNamara takes charge of a first competitive U-20s game.
The head coach has named nine new caps in his side to take on France, with the likes of out-half Harry Byrne, tighthead Jack Aungier and No 8 Jack O'Sullivan getting their first taste of action at this level.
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Masterson, who featured at last year's Junior World Cup, admitted that a tough task lies ahead but it is one that his side is relishing.
"We played the French at U-19 last year twice, and we played them over there. We know what they will be like. Hopefully, we will learn from the experience and we will go there to win.
"It is mindset really, at the end of the day. If we front up physically, we always say that we are a smarter team. Technically, we can outwork them and, hopefully, the win will come.
"A lot of the lads have played B&I Cup. Some have played PRO14. We won't step back from them."
Ireland U-20s (v France, tomorrow at 8.0) - M Silvester; P Sullivan, D McCarthy, T O'Brien (capt), J McCarthy; H Byrne, J Stewart; J Duggan, R Kelleher, A Aungier; C Daly, J Dunne; M Dalton, A Hall, J O'Sullivan. Reps: D Barron, J French, T O'Toole, R Coffey, S Masterson, H O'Sullivan, A Curtis, A Kernohan.
Independent.ie's U-20s Six Nations coverage is in association with PwC