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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Veteran Reddan still has bit more to give yet

Leinster scrum-half not yet panicking over selections

Eoin Reddan
Eoin Reddan

Eoin Reddan must be beginning to feel how Matt Dawson did when the Limerick man arrived at London Wasps to oust the England international way back in in 2005.

Of course, the Ireland international has not been immune to the cold shoulder from his native Munster.

For Ireland too.

There was a time when Peter Stringer was considered part of the furniture for province and country. Drat!

Then along came Conor Murray. Double drat!

When the 35-year-old comes to a discussion on the changing of the guard, he does so with an objectivity honed from working through a life on both sides of that fence.

Reddan has lost favour and found it.

There have been 68 Ireland caps. Instructively, as many as 42 of them have come from the bench.

At Leinster, the selection of Isaac Boss against Bath signalled a loss of form; the selection of Luke McGrath against Ulster, perhaps, a new direction.

"I'm not panicking," he said.

"I'm enjoying my rugby and I came back from the World Cup in a pretty good spot and I'm feeling pretty good."

The transition from Ireland to Leinster has not been seamless.

There are differences to the two environments.

"There's no real excuse there. There's nothing for me."

This does not excuse the poor passing, the most stable requirement for any scrum-half.

"It's get to the breakdown, pass the ball, there's no massive change in that regard."

He has been long enough in the game to know he has to trust the coaches will reward form or identify it when it returns.

"I trust Leo (Cullen) has a plan for the season and I have to lead by example when I'm not playing.

"At the same time, it's pretty simple really. I come in and train as hard as I can," he said.

"I know Leo pretty well so I have good faith in what he's doing.

"I'm not so much trying to work out what's going on, so I can just come in and do my job and try and help the team as much as I can.

"That's the plan."

Coach Cullen has to look to the future right now given the simple fact Boss shares Reddan's age.

The end has to be coming soon.

"Well, there will be a season when that happens," he said.

"I'm more concerned, as I always have been, with how I approach each challenge that I'm faced with in terms of who I blame, do I blame anyone, how do I carry myself afterwards?

"When I'm finished and I look back, that's what I'm going to look at more than achievements and things like that."

For Reddan to be successful, he has to abide by the one-for-all, all-for-one ethos that has coursed through all the winning cultures he has been immersed in.

"I value putting the team first. I value dealing with ups and downs in a certain manner and thats what's important to me," he added.

"I've never won anything with any team that hasn't had people putting the team first.

"When you think of all the people that play rugby and all the teams that play, there are very few teams that actually win everything.

"You've got one team that wins Europe and then one wins each of the regions."

This is a man who has been planning for the end almost from the start.

"I've been going to college since I'm 22 for when I'm finished," he stated.

"It's not that I turn around one day, and say 'my God, I'm finishing in three years, I need to do something'.

"I've always been playing rugby with, I suppose, an open mind in terms of possibilities of outside the game.

"There's no real change for me.

"Just continue on with my day-to-day as well as I can, and put the team first as much as I can."

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