Thursday 5 December 2019

'You have to have goals' - Munster back row O'Donoghue looking to impress Andy Farrell ahead of first Ireland squad

Munster back row Jack O'Donoghue has won two Ireland caps. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Munster back row Jack O'Donoghue has won two Ireland caps. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Jack O'Donoghue is hoping that he can string a consistent run of games together and force his way back into the Ireland setup.

The Munster back-row tore his ACL in the 2018 Guinness PRO14 semi-final defeat to Leinster, which cost him nine months on the sideline.

O'Donoghue won the second of his two caps on Ireland's tour to Japan in 2017, but with a new head coach in place, naturally, he wants to impress Andy Farrell.

In order to do so, he must cement his place in the Munster back-row, which is currently a hugely competitive area.

Johann van Graan did however, start the Waterford native in last weekend's Champions Cup draw with Racing, which was a huge confidence boost.

"Look you have to have goals, you have to have drive to be better," O'Donoghue said at a PRO14 media event in Cardiff today.

"At the moment, it's very much trying to get a starting place in the Champions Cup team and keep working on what I'm doing and build on the start of the season I had so far.

"But look, if that (Ireland) happens on the back of good performances, it happens. Certainly, at the moment it's very much focus on this weekend and the next few games coming up."

The 25-year old has firmly put his injury nightmare behind him and is now looking for an extended run in the team.

"I'm going well," he continued.

"I had a full pre-season under my belt, which was massive. Getting the few games before the end of the season was great confidence-wise.

"Once I hit the pre-season it wasn't a matter of having an injury, it was very much back to the way things were and I'm very happy with how the season has gone. Hopefully now I can keep pushing guys who are in the team for spots."

Having played most of his rugby at No 8, O'Donoghue has often been used on the flank more recently, but the change of position doesn't bother him as long as he is in the team.

"You are always trying to focus on one spot but it is a squad game at the end of the day and you want to be in a position to get into a starting Champions Cup team whether that is at 6, 7 or 8," he added.

"You have to out your hand up and play where you are needed not where you want to."

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