NIALL RONAN might be forgiven for believing someone within the Munster squad is out to get him, following his latest trip to the medics.
Sporting 10 stitches in a forehead wound, sustained in the opening Magners League game against Aironi at Musgrave Park 10 days ago, Ronan revealed most of his injuries have been caused from within the squad!
The latest came in a collision with Denis Leamy’s elbow, and the flanker said his own colleagues were responsible on the last six occasions he had to receive stitches: “You would have to ask them if they were deliberate,” he said jokingly, “but these things happen.”
Despite the war wounds, Ronan is happy with his start to the season, both from a personal and collective point of view. He scored two tries in that opener despite having to spend time in sick bay and he described the win as: “good, in terms of that game, we played well in patches. We got the bonus point win and progressed from there to the Edinburgh game. Every week, it’s about progression.”
Ronan likes the idea of being front line, and acknowledged that his career with Munster had been stop-start. But recent events, selection on the Irish squad for the tour to New Zealand and Australia being particularly significant, have made him want more.
Was he comfortable at that level? “Yeah,” he said, “I (do) believe in my own ability. Being given the chance was great and it was a great experience, especially the Australia game. It was a step up in terms of the intensity and physicality and it’s good to gain that experience, and have it in the bank.”
Having tested the waters against Australia, he feels Ireland could also be relatively comfortable in taking the Wallabies on in the upcoming 2011 World Cup.
“Obviously it’s massive,” he says. “I think we lost by seven or eight points and we missed a few chances to score, but it was good to test your ability.”
For now, though, Ronan’s sights are set on nailing down a place with Munster. “It’s a question that whenever you’re given a chance to play for Munster, you’ve got to take it.”
He accepted, however, the fact that competition is at a premium for places in Munster’s back row, not only from the regulars. “There’s a lot of competition in the team this year, and in the back row you have the most, in my view.
“You’ve got young lads coming up, Denis Leamy is back, Alan Quinlan is still playing well, David Wallace, myself, Peter O’Mahony – a lot of players are stepping up to the plate – so you have to perform every week.”
- Munster’s Lifeimi Mafi is named in the Munster A team to play Ulster A in tomorrow’s interpro at Nenagh RFC (4.30pm).
MUNSTER: S Scanlon, D Hurley, I Dineen, L Mafi, S Zebo, S Deasy, C Murray, D Ryan, S Henry, S Archer, D Foley (c), I Nagle, D O’Callaghan, B O’Hara, J Coughlan.
Replacements: G Burke, D Kilcoyne, D Hurley, K Essex, P Butler, D Williams, E Maloney, R O’Mahony.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved