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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Jack Conan: I've only got Leinster on my mind at the moment

Talented No 8 not getting ahead of himself despite chances of a late World Cup call-up

Jack Conan
Jack Conan

YOU can see why Jack Conan needs to narrow his mind to an immediate focus back at Leinster.

The back row forward is on standby for Ireland ahead of the World Cup.

He can only get the call if one of his buddies goes down; only earn it if he shows he is ready to go.

"That is something I will deal with when we come to it. Whatever happens, happens," he said, in a somewhat philosophical mood.

"Otherwise, it is out of my control. I am here to work hard and that is not in the forefront of my mind.

"There is a possibility it could happen and if it does then I will be excited to go over there and help out as much as I can. Until then, I am focusing on my role here."

ELITE

Leinster will benefit from the fast-track experience Conan had as part of Ireland's extended World Cup squad, working and learning in an elite environment.

"You are in camp and staying overnight and you do grow because there are so many great Irish players with you in the camp.

"It was my first experience there for a while. I was there for the Six Nations for only a week or two. To be there for the five or six weeks was a brilliant experience.

"I suppose it gives you the chance to see the intensity in training, to see what is needed to perform at that level.

"Early on in training, the margin for error is so small. Your accuracy has to be so high.

"To train at a high level just allows you to develop as a player," he emphasised.

There were kind words from Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to the media last month and on a personal level.

"He said 'go back and just keep doing what you are doing'," shared Conan.

It is difficult to believe how far the natural number eight has come in what must seem like 'the blink of an eye'.

"This time last year I had one cap for Leinster," he reminded everyone.

His Leinster debut came against Cardiff Blues back in February 2014. He added 22 appearances last season.

"If I can keep on growing the way I did throughout the year then I can grow more as a player."

The very least Conan will aim for, in the longer-term, is to be involved in the 2016 Six Nations.

It all starts back at base camp Leinster where wounds would have been licked from last Friday's under-whelming defeat to Edinburgh in the PRO12 League.

The good start Leo Cullen was chasing did not materialise.

It reroutes the importance for a first win to The RDS on Saturday.

"It is vitally important, especially for confidence at the start of the season.

"This is a small block of two games and it was good to get the losing bonus point. I think our discipline was something that let us down a little and something we can definitely improve upon.

"We will want to better ourselves this week and put right a few wrongs," he pushed.

Cardiff have always been a club that has flattered only to deceive. It might just be different this season.

"We had a good look at Cardiff and the performance against Zebre - they scored 11 tries - they have some good quality players.

"We know it is going to be a massive competition come Saturday at The RDS."

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