Munster know they face a stiff test if they are to maintain their unbeaten start to the GUINNESS PRO12 against defending champions Glasgow Warriors on Friday. The province have only beaten Glasgow once in their last five meetings – in this equivalent fixture last season, played in Cork.
One man who featured in last season’s GUINNESS PRO12 final loss to Gregor Townsend’s men was recent Munster Academy graduate Jack O’Donoghue. Having tasted the disappointment of defeat in Belfast, the young back rower is looking for revenge at Thomond Park on Friday night (kick-off 6pm).
“They got one over on us in the PRO12 final and we need to set out a marker from the start. They are a quality side but we need to show them and prove to them what we’re really about also. I don’t think we did ourselves any justice last May,” said O’Donoghue.
With a 16-week block of games just around the corner, the Waterford native is also hoping to make an impression on the field and stake claim for selection going forward.
“It’s really hotting up. We’ve a few new guys in and it just adds that bit of pressure. Unfortunately we lost Tommy O’Donnell to injury but with the back row that’s there, you always someone pushing you and someone at your heels.
“So, you’re always striving to become a better player and nail down a position and prove to Axel (Anthony Foley) and the coaches that you’re up for the game and ready to go.”
Primarily a number 8, when called upon the versatile O’Donoghue, a former Ireland Under-20 captain, has plied his trade at openside flanker for the men in red.
“I’m getting some game-time at 7 now and it’s maybe not my natural position but I think I’m growing into it. I only have two games under my belt playing there in professional rugby but I played openside a bit in club rugby and I think I’m getting used to it.
“I just need to nail down some timings and a few minor details around the breakdown, etc., but I think it’s going to benefit me in the long-term. I can be a more versatile back row so I’m happy enough getting game-time in all positions.”
On the key differences between numbers 7 and 8, O’Donoghue elaborated: “At 8 I look to get on the ball, carry and make the hard yards but the 7 does the background work, the dirty work as it’s called.
“You could find yourself hitting three or four rucks in a row and all you want to do is make that big carry but it doesn’t go unnoticed to the coaches. Sometimes that’s what sets up a try, sometimes getting that inside rail in the ruck opens up a hole for the 9 or for someone to scoot in under the posts, so I think they’re the finer details that you just have to nail down.”
Munster v Glasgow Warriors tickets from just €;20 for adults and €;7 for juniors can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 0818 719 300.