Donncha O’Callaghan: Facing Munster was an unforgettable experience

Donncha O’Callaghan has admitted lining out for Worcester Warriors against Munster on Friday was one of the most ‘emotional’ nights of an incredible career.

O’Callaghan (37) has enjoyed a glittering career with Munster, Ireland, the Barbarians, and the British and Irish Lions, but the return to Musgrave Park will rank alongside the greatest memories.

“You’d be emotional with it. It’s something I never imagined I’d do — by lining out for Worcester against Munster was just wrong for me. But I am unbelievably grateful, it was so nice of people to come out. I was humbled. It was just incredible so I have to say thanks very much (to the fans).”

But O’Callaghan, whose attention now turns to the Premiership clash with Saracens this weekend, was unimpressed by their poor showing against his former club, as they slumped to a 21-52 defeat.

“You want to come home and you want to be respected but the way we played isn’t a true reflection of where we are at, and it soured the whole thing a bit. We have a lot of work to do. At times like that everyone can go around pointing fingers but, to be honest, it solely lies now with the players, we have to step up for a massive challenge next week. We play cup finals every week such is the league and the quality of the opposition. We are going to have to look for something deep inside us as players because, to be fair, we’re not reflecting on what the coaches are putting into us at the moment.

“There is plenty of excuses, I could give you a load of them but that’s just looking for cop-outs. As players, we need to front up and be embarrassed about how we’ve performed over the last two weeks, and show it against Saracens. You want to drive on. The big thing is progress. You want to show you’re getting better within the league. Last year there were an awful lot of games where we were really close.”

O’Callaghan will be urging his colleagues not to look beyond one week at a time. “I’ll be honest, nobody is looking beyond Saracens at the moment but, of course, there are big European games coming up and a trip to Russia and stuff like that. It’s a bit like when you tog out for Munster: you never look for more than a week beyond and that’s something I learned out of (Declan) Kidney; if you are looking down the track too far, you’re going to get in trouble.”

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