Munster hooker Kevin O’Byrne looks set to get a rare second consecutive start but having made 45 of his 61 appearances for the province off the bench, he said he is ready to go at any stage.
Only twice in the past five seasons has he started two weeks in a row for Munster, but the 28-year old Cork native relishes every chance he gets.
“It’s the exact same, whether you are starting or are on the bench. You have to prepare the same. If one of the other lads are starting, there’s nothing to say that he gets a knock in the first 60 seconds and you have to go on and play,” he said.
“If you look at the weekend just gone, Jack O’Donoghue came on after about 10 minutes for Gav Coombes. You have to be ready to play 60, 80 minutes whatever it is, so it’s literally the exact same. I love putting on the two-jersey, I love the buzz of going out there and starting the game.”
O’Byrne said that while tomorrow’s clash with Leinster and then away to Ulster next week present lads with an opportunity to stake a claim for inclusion for the crunch Heineken Champions Cup clash against Racing 92 in just over two weeks, they are not looking beyond the visit of their arch-rivals tomorrow.
Munster are hoping to become the first side to defeat Leinster this season, but O’Byrne said it’s important that young players continue to push through and he was enthused by what they produced in the 19-14 win away to Connacht last weekend.
“It’s vitally important that fellas are sticking their hands up. Fellas like Shane Daly and Calvin Nash at the weekend. They’re exciting to watch and I think this weekend, in particular, could be their first time experiencing something like that if they play — that’s exciting and I think people should be excited about that.
“These fellas bring something new, they’re fresh, they’re exciting, they want to get on the ball and they want to show what they are made of.
“It brings an extra dynamic to our group as well, these fellas are raring for road.”
While O’Byrne and his Munster colleagues were carving out a hard-earned win in Galway where each side managed a single try, Leinster and Ulster were producing a 14-try thriller in the RDS.
O’Byrne doesn’t think Leinster scoring eight and conceding six in that encounter will have any impact in Thomond Park tomorrow when they go toe-to-toe with Leo Cullen’s men.
“I don’t think there are potential cracks or it was bizarre, games come and go and for both teams to put such high scores on each other is a bit unusual, but I don’t think you can’t read too much into it,” he added.