07 Mar 14
Munster A just edged out Connacht Eagles 32-26 in an eight-try thriller at Dooradoyle this afternoon.
"I'd been sitting down having breakfast, my regular weekly catch-up with Mossie Lawlor, when Declan rang and told me there was an opening after happening and he was inviting me over to New Zealand.
"Obviously my heart goes out to Jerry. You wouldn't wish injury on anyone. But it is the nature of the sport. One man's loss is another man's gain. I certainly wish Jerry a speedy recovery.
"In terms of practicalities, I'm cleared by our medical and fitness guys. So I'm heading up to Dublin in the morning and flying from Dublin Airport tomorrow evening. I call into IRFU in the morning to pick up gear and various things. I don't know what route I'll be taking yet but I hope to arrive in New Zealand on Saturday.
His initial reaction was elation. "As I said, I read the report that Jerry got injured and when I saw Declan's name pop up on my phone I got very excited, I have to say. I've been on a bit of a high since. A lot of things going on in my mind. Trying to get organised and stuff. It's lousy on Jerry to get injured especially at this stage in his career but y'know I think it's a brilliant opportunity for myself personally and I'm going to grab it with both hands.
And when it was suggested, albeit tongue-in-cheek, to him that he'd be leaving his Munster players in the lurch as they chase their third win of the League, he adopts a serious demeanour, ever so briefly, "Yeh I was going to ask him could I think about it and ring him back." he says with a laugh, before continuing in a serious vein. "Ah look, this opportunity doesn't come around too often. And when you see guys get injured and how quickly things happen, the minute you get a phone call like this, you're presented with an opportunity you need to go grab it and make the best of it."
In terms of fitness levels. " I was training with the RWC squad up until they left and the fitness lads here in Munster have done a smashing job too. So I think I've a good bit of work done and I think I'll be in good shape for it. thanks to the fitness guys here in Munster.
The last few hours have been hectic and there'll be no let up until he leaves for Dublin in the morning. "Yes, hectic is the word I suppose. When you get a call like this everything is dropped and you're ready to go. If they'd asked me to jump on a plane in an hour I would have. There's nothing that can't wait. I'm looking forward to getting out there."