On and off the field, Eusebio Guinazu is not looking beyond the next three weeks as he bids to help power Munster to a first trophy in four years.
The well-travelled Argentina hooker’s short-term contract with Munster is up at the end of the season and while he is enjoying his career in red and life in Cork, all his goals are in the short-term. Which means starting with winning tomorrow’s final Guinness Pro12 league game against Newport Gwent Dragons at Musgrave Park and securing a home semi-final for the following weekend.
“I am only contracted until the end of the season and to be honest I am really concentrating on that,” Guinazu, 33, said. “I want to finish this season as best as possible. I have really enjoyed playing for Munster. It is a weird thing. I have only been here for eight months, but I feel like I have been here for ages. The guys make me feel so comfortable. I really love to play for this province.”
Asked if staying on at Munster next season was an option, the former Toulon, Agen, Biarritz, Stormers and Bath front-rower continued to emphasise the present rather than the future.
“The most responsible thing now is what is next, the Dragons, a semi-final and hopefully a final. It would be a dream for me to play in those kind of games for this team. I really enjoy playing here. My focus is on that now. If I am very happy about how we finish the season, I will be able to think about what is next.”
The Argentine, capped 36 times by the Pumas, was signed on a four-month contract last September after Mike Sherry was forced to undergo a second operation on his shoulder in nine months and with Damien Varley in the midst of a foot injury that would eventually force his premature retirement.
Speaking after training at Musgrave Park, as Varley sat in the main stand chatting to BJ Botha and Sherry continued his latest workout following almost 18 months on the sidelines, Guinazu reflected on his 80-minute shift last weekend in the draw at Ravenhill as Ulster scored a late converted try to snatch two points and keep Munster on tenterhooks heading into the final round this weekend.
“It was a bitter feeling after the game because the last try and the draw, well, it is not time to keep looking backwards, it is time to look forward and just concentrate on the Dragons.
“I think we did well in the scrums and line-outs. They worked well. As a hooker I am happy about it. But it’s really a collective effort.
“We have been working the whole season, most of the games that was the case, the forwards performance was good. It was a great challenge to come up against a very tough Ulster team, we just need to keep moving the same way forward, the Dragons, the semi-final, whatever is ahead of us.”
Guinazu, set to make his 18th appearance of the season for Munster this weekend, believes he and his fellow forwards will have to be at their best to combat an underrated Dragons team which will finish the Pro12 season in ninth place but are more than capable of springing a surprise, as they did last week in beating Edinburgh.
“It is their last game of the season. Sometimes, when you are that relaxed and don’t have much to play for, it is when you play really well. We need to be really focused. They also want to finish the season off well. They will want to beat Munster. It will be a very tough game.
“We need to make sure on Saturday that the job is done and then wait for other results as well.”
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