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Warriors Lie In Wait

29th September 2015 By Munster Rugby

Warriors Lie In Wait

With Glasgow Warriors set to visit Thomond Park on Friday for Round 3 of the Guinness PRO12, we look at the pre-match stats and chat with back-row Jack O’Donoghue as he looks to make an early impression for the busy season ahead.

With Glasgow Warriors set to visit Thomond Park on Friday for Round 3 of the Guinness PRO12, we look at the pre-match stats and chat with back-row Jack O’Donoghue as he looks to make an early impression for the busy season ahead.

After suffering their first defeat in Scotstoun since November 2013 at the hands of Scarlets in Round 1, Warriors bounced back a week later, overcoming a strong second half onslaught from Connacht to defeat the Irish province by a single point (33-32). Interestingly the reigning champions have won their last five contests against Irish provinces since their 34-all draw with Leinster at the RDS Arena in March.

Warriors have won twice before in Limerick – in February 2006 and on their last visit in April 2014.

Munster lost their first game at Thomond Park last season – to Edinburgh in Round 1 – and will not want to repeat the same mistakes this time round. A better start to the League this year has seen Anthony Foley’s side make it two wins from two against Treviso and Ospreys, the latter just their fourth win at the Liberty Stadium in thirteen games, while Munster’s only defeat in their last nine PRO12 fixtures was against Warriors in last season’s Final in Belfast.

The Munster-men know they face a stiff test if they are to maintain their unbeaten run given they have only defeated the Scotsmen once in their last five encounters – in this equivalent fixture last season, played in Cork.

One man who featured in last season’s Final loss to Gregor Townsend’s men was recent academy graduate Jack O’Donoghue. Having tasted the disappointment of defeat in Belfast, the back-row looks ahead to Friday evening’s game.

“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.”

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 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 has plied his trade at openside 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, Guinness PRO12 Round 3, Friday October 2nd at Thomond Park – KO 6pm.

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.

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