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Monday, July 16, 2012
Peter Stringer is determined to use his Munster return as a launch-pad to win further international honours.
After six months in temporary exile at Aviva Premiership clubs Saracens and Newcastle, the diminutive scrum-half, stuck on 98 Irish caps, has revealed a burning desire to add to the tally.
Having taken the brave decision to move to England on loan rather than kick his heels on secondary duty for Munster last season, he’s glad that he followed his gut instincts.
"It suited them (Saracens) and it certainly helped me; the whole experience was a massive plus, the game time was the priority for me. I got decent game time with Saracens and when I went to Newcastle I played 80 minutes of the five or six games I was there; as a professional rugby player that’s all that anyone wants to do, to play week in and week out.
"The time I spent in England was proof to me that I am still capable of competing at and doing really well at that level and that I still have a lot to offer.
"It surpassed any expectation I had of moving away from Munster. I thoroughly enjoyed the six months and I’ve come back with a lot of game time under my belt; I feel confident coming home and I am really excited about the new season here."
Part of that is down to Munster having a new coach, with whom, Stringer figures, the slate will be wiped clean. Yet he certainly doesn’t expect any special favours from New Zealander Rob Penney who will be unveiled as the new coach in Cork on Wednesday.
"Yeah, I’ve had a chat with some New Zealand guys," said Stringer, "he is held in very high regard, he’s a guy who doesn’t take any s**t but that’s fine, that’s what we’re used to, and I’m sure he will fit in really well here in Munster."
The 34 year-old Stringer is Munster’s most capped player in the current squad with 221 appearances.
He’s looking for many more, with an eye on helping Munster back to the top of European rugby and, of course, sending are minder to national coach Declan Kidney that he is far from finished. "I’ve come back with the mindset that I’m not finished, not by a long shot."
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