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Scannell: It’s Been An Amazing Learning Curve So Far

Scannell: It’s Been An Amazing Learning Curve So Far

A strong start to the season has seen Rory Scannell play in every Munster ‘A’ game to date, alternating between out-half and centre and kicking 33 points along the way. The Dolphin clubman knows first-hand the benefit of British & Irish Cup experience in helping players to make the transition to GUINNESS PRO12 rugby.

“This season so far has been an amazing learning curve for me. As well as my Academy sessions, I got the opportunity to train a lot with the seniors and the British & Irish Cup games were another great experience,” said Rory Scannell, who made his competitive bow for Munster against Cardiff Blues in their most recent PRO12 outing.

“There was one loss against Worcester Warriors but other than that it went well and it prepared me for another step up in the GUINNESS PRO12.

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“Through playing in the B&I Cup and training with the seniors, I mostly noticed an increase in physicality from what I had previously been used to.

“Physicality, ball carrying and the pace of the game is something that you need to keep on top of at every level. You try to impress in both club and B&I level, and then hope to be in contention for senior selection.”

That call-up came for Scannell in the last week of October. Not only had head coach Anthony Foley included him in the matchday squad, but he would make his senior competitive debut from the start – in the centre alongside Andrew Smith.

“I was delighted, naturally there were a few nerves before the game but once I got into it I was fine. The artificial pitch in Cardiff made the game a bit faster but once I got used to it I really enjoyed the experience,” he said of the 28-24 Arms Park victory.

“I had played on an artificial pitch for Dolphin against Lansdowne on a couple of occasions so I knew what to expect – it was going to be a bit quicker than the average game.

“A few of the senior lads as well as Axel and Squeaks (Brian Walsh) were very good to me in the run up to the game. They told me to do my own thing, play like I usually do, do the basics rights and I’d be okay. That’s what I did and thankfully I got through okay and enjoyed it.

“GUINNESS PRO12 is another step up again – the physicality, the speed of the game and the skill levels of the guys you are playing against. You just have to be more clinical and you can’t afford to have as many mistakes or you’ll be punished.”

Making his debut for the province on away turf, more or less pressure? Or did it make any difference for the year two Academy player?

“For myself I suppose it was a bit less pressure as there wasn’t as many Munster fans there, but that said I would also have liked to make my debut at home in front of a Thomond crowd.

“However, I was just delighted to play in my first senior competitive game and with it being an away game, we spent two nights in Cardiff and that gave me a good opportunity to bond with the senior lads and they helped me out with anything I needed advice on.”

Just like his Munster Academy colleague Jack O’Donoghue, such senior experience will lend itself to Scannell taking more of a leadership role among those in the Academy ranks.

“Some lads would now be asking me questions and I try to help them out in any way I can,” admitted the 20-year-old from Cork.

“Usually it’s when they are brought into the senior sessions and they’re wondering about moves or such things. It’s good that they ask and I’m happy to help as best I can while continuing to keep learning myself.”