MUNSTER full-back Felix Jones says Ireland’s 6 Nations success has instilled a new sense of ‘hunger’ into the players ahead of key RaboDirect PRO12 and Heineken Cup fixtures.
Jones was a member of Joe Schmidt’s extended Ireland squad during the Six Nations Championship. He returns to action with second-placed Munster for the province’s first competitive outing in three weeks with Treviso’s PRO12 visit to Thomond Park this Saturday, 7.15pm.
Jones said: “I’d say that anyone that was watching the rugby (Ireland) on the weekend would have been going ‘Jeez I can’t wait to get back into it.’
“Everyone’s hungry for a bit of rugby and hopefully success.
“Everyone wants to be involved (with Ireland). Obviously it’s a massive disappointment not being involved. Getting to work with Joe (Schmidt) was great.
“Working with top quality coaches, you’re going to improve as a player, getting another coach’s point of view.
“You take the positives you can from it but you try and keep the hunger if you’re not getting in there.
“The last contact I had with him (Joe Schmidt) was the week of the game (France)). No he just said keep fit and he’d be keeping an eye out and he’d be watching us. I’m sure he’s watching every game so that was it.
“It was brilliant for all our guys who were involved with Ireland in Paris, for Pete (O’Mahony) and Paulie (O’Connell) and Murrs (Conor Murray), massive.
“Everyone here was behind them so it will be great now to get them back and hopefully they can do something similar for us.
“The fixture (Leinster) speaks for itself but as I said, we’re concentrating on this weekend against Treviso.
“We’ve lost the last two times we’ve gone over there so we won’t be taking anything for granted and we’ll be fully aware of the race for a home semi-final or even just to get into the top four. We’re a fully aware that we need points.”
Following Saturday’s home clash with Treviso, Munster face a trip to the Aviva Stadium to take on arch rivals Leinster on Saturday, March 29, 7pm.
The crucial run of fixtures then continues with the glamour Heineken Cup quarter-final clash at home to French aristocrats Toulouse.
Munster’s five game winning run in all tournaments ended with their controversial away defeat to the Scarlets at the start of March.
However, Munster are the only side left in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 100 per cent home winning record this season. No Italian side has ever beaten Munster on their own soil.