herald

Saturday 14 December 2019

Conan: I can play with CJ in the back row

Jack Conan in Energia Park for the launch of the #ThisIsMyDublin campaign promoting Dublin City Sportsfest 2019
Jack Conan in Energia Park for the launch of the #ThisIsMyDublin campaign promoting Dublin City Sportsfest 2019

Jack Conan believes there is enough room in the Ireland back row for CJ Stander and Leinster's main man at number eight.

"I often revert back to the final test against Australia last year where the three of us played," said Conan.

"That was such a successful day for all of us. The proof is in the pudding that it does work.

"Is it the most favourite thing from a coaching point of view? I don't know because it hasn't happened a whole lot since.

"But, it can work. It does work. Will it happen? We will have to wait and see. If we're given an opportunity to play together, I think it is something we both enjoy."

Perhaps it doesn't have to be a case of one or the other with Conan, Stander and Peter O'Mahony a workable solution to the loss of Dan Leavy and Sean O'Brien.

Then again, Josh van der Flier and Jordi Murphy will have something to say about all that. Number eight is the most contentious one-on-one along the spine of the Ireland team, primarily due to Conan's fine seam of form last season.

Failing a significant rethink from those on high, Conan feels ready to finally dislodge Stander.

"Definitely, I think I'm playing the best that I have so far.

"There is still more to come. There are still areas I can improve in. I will be better.

"Where I am in the moment is the closest that I've been.

"If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will," he added.

"I definitely see myself being able to lock down that position."

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