Joe Schmidt will announce his Ireland squad this week for the upcoming November internationals and you can be certain there will be a few cases of players incessantly checking their mobile phone in hope of that elusive call.
If you were to predict Schmidt’s squad, about 80% would be locked in but with so many impressive performances from Irish players in the first seven weeks of the season, some players’ places are under threat.
Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne knows more than most the difficulty in not only getting into the Ireland squad but maintaining your place and staying in Schmidt’s thoughts.
The 29-year-old’s last two caps came roughly this time last year when Ireland took on Argentina and South Africa in the 2017 November series. Since then, he has been unable to loosen the almost vice-like grip which Cian Healy and Jack McGrath hold on the loosehead positions in an Ireland matchday squad.
He has played in every one of Munster’s games this season and he will hope that having so many minutes under his belt could persuade Schmidt to give him the nod when the Ireland head coach names his squad this week.
“I think everyone is hoping for a phone call from Joe Schmidt,” Kilcoyne told the media at University of Limerick today.
“You look at the competition for places right across the provinces. Here you have James [Cronin], Boomer [Liam O’Connor], you’ve other lads coming back from injury. You look at the provinces; Jack [McGrath], Cian [Healy] and then Denis [Buckley], Pete [McCabe] at Connacht.”
As Kilcoyne states, the depth in Irish rugby is in rude health at the moment but all the Munster loosehead can focus on is his own performances for the southern province.
“You go right through everyone, there’s huge strength in depth in Irish rugby at the moment and great headaches for Joe but all you can focus on is your performance. That’s what I’ve been doing and the rest is out of my hands.”