Munster's Dave Kilcoyne powers through the Cardiff defence during their Guinness PRO 14 clash at Musgrave Park on Friday night
ASK Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne if he is playing the best rugby of his career right now and he modestly just deflects the question away, keen to stress the team aspect of the sport.
The 30-year-old may not admit it, publicly at least, but Kilcoyne’s form and level of consistency has definitely picked up significantly this season.
A string of highly consistent displays for Munster resulted in Kilcoyne getting gametime in all five of Ireland’s Six Nations fixtures, including the starting loosehead berth against Italy in Rome.
Match stats from Friday night’s bonus point win over Cardiff show Kilcoyne made five powerful ball carries, gaining 21 metres and beating five defenders in the process. For good measure the Limerickman also made 11 tackles.
Kilcoyne said: “I am happy with my form. I am a team man first. You judge your performance on how well the team is going.
“I am happy to be involved in a team that won tonight. I look into personal performance, but it is as a whole as a team, I’m a team man first. I’m happy to contribute to a team that’s winning.”
Kilcoyne was pleased with Munster’s six-try rout of Cardiff on Friday, the result achieved just six days after their Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh.
“To get the bonus point here and secure our place in Europe (Champions Cup for next season) was obviously great, but now it’s about trying to get a home semi-final and we have a tough assignment in Treviso next week.
“It’s back in Monday, dust ourselves off and get ourselves ready for that.
“I thought tonight was always going to be a very physical battle.
“Cardiff are chasing at the moment and we were chasing (for different reasons) and I think you saw that out there in the physical exchanges. It was very physical game. They (Cardiff) showed great heart there at the end.”
Kilcoyne admitted Munster’s heavy 37-13 defeat to Cardiff at the Arms Park last September was a motivating factor ahead of Friday’s game.
Kilcoyne said: “Yes, definitely. Niall Scannell mentioned it earlier in the week at the press conference that they are one team that have had our number over a couple of years.
“I remember Rassie (Erasmus’) first game was against Cardiff and we lost. They’ve always been a tough challenge, they contest the breakdown very well.
“They have a good kicking game, they’ve a lot of Welsh lads who were involved in the Six Nations and Grand Slam win, so we knew it was always going to be tough. Thank God the lads dug in and we got a result tonight.”