Waterford native Jack O'Donoghue who will face the Ospreys this weekend
MUNSTER flanker Jack O’Donoghue says he will use the frustration of not being involved in the Ireland squad for the autumn internationals as a motivating factor to impress in upcoming key Pro14 and European fixtures.
O’Donoghue won the second of his two Ireland caps against Japan last summer, but wasn’t involved in Joe Schmidt’s squad for the recent three test November series.
The 23-year-old back-rower said: “There was that bit of frustration not being involved with Ireland in the November series, but that frustration leads to motivation in these upcoming block of games to try and prove to Joe (Schmidt) and the Ireland selectors that they maybe made a wrong decision and you should have been involved but there was the chance to get some game time which I probably lacked in the last month.
”I have put two nearly 80 minutes under my belt now and if I could get another one this weekend then I would really be in a good place, heading into Europe.”
O’Donoghue said players were keen to impress new head coach Johann van Graan who takes charge of the province fully for the first time this Saturday.
“There is great excitement around. Everyone is trying to put their front foot forward. They are trying to showcase what they can do, be in training, the match, and there always is that excitement when a new face comes in.
“People are eager to impress. There is a good buzz around the place.
“We had a great meeting, the whole squad (on Tuesday), all contracted players, the management.
”We had a good chat today and he gave great insight into what he believes in, about how we need to progress, going forward. Him and Rassie they would have known each other and the gameplan is going to stay very much the same – and he is not going to come in and change everything.
”But there might be one or two slight changes. But going forward, for the remainder of this season, he is very happy with the way things are going.
“It is a fresh start for us and Johann made that point earlier that we all start on zero. No one is up on a pedestal or anything like that.
“Everyone is on a level playing field and some players need that in order to get their season off and running again.”
Munster will face an Ospreys side sure to be still smarting from last weekend’s thumping at the hands of Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium in Cork on Saturday.
O’Donoghue agrees that Munster’s discipline will need to improve from their most recent outing against Zebre when the province had two players sin-binned in the opening half and coughed up 12 penalties in all, eight in the opening half alone.
“I think we all know that (discipline must improve). Against Ospreys last weekend, we know that if our discipline is poor, they will punish us.
”It’ll go three, six, nine, twelve points to them. They will really punish us if we don’t get it right and that is something we will address later in the team meeting.
”We did address it at half time against Zebre and in the second half it was a bit better but two yellow cards in the game was, you know, is something that in Europe, or even the Ospreys, that will be punished.
“The Ospreys are playing with the shackles off now at the moment. They have not much to lose. They have only won two games and are very dangerous.”
Munster sit second in Conference A of the PRO14, while Ospreys are propping up the table.