JACK NEEDING A BIT OF A LIFT
JACK MCGRATH found himself out of Ireland contention last week - and admitted: “It was hard to take”.
The Leinster prop (left) has been Joe Schmidt’s go-to tighthead prop since a series of injuries weakened Cian Healy’s position for province and country.
Now 28, Mcgrath made his Ireland debut against Samoa in the November series four years ago and for the past couple of years has been a regular fixture.
But last week, in the build-up to the South Africa game, he was on the outside looking in as Healy started and Dave Kilcoyne came off the bench.
It was the consequence of a late return to fitness after injury and an extended break after coming on in all three Lions Tests in New Zealand.
“I hadn’t trained the week before and the stars probably aligned a little bit against me coming back,” acknowledged Mcgrath, who is set to start against Fiji on Saturday.
“The two boys had a little bit more game time coming into the series. Then not training that week, not being able to put your hand up for selection at all and the two boys playing well, it was hard to take.
“I struggled last week with the selection, but I realised that the boys were playing well.
“You have to respect that. You have to respect the coach’s decision.”