O'Leary eager to kickstart Irish career
TOMÁS O’LEARY hopes London Irish will provide the foundations to kick-start his international career. The former Munster scrumhalf, speaking at the launch of the 2012-13 English Premiership fixtures in London yesterday, has gone from an Ireland regular to bit part player in the past year and was left out of the recent tour to New Zealand.
But after making the move from Limerick to London, O’Leary is relishing the opportunity to play regular rugby. He said: “Coming to London Irish is definitely the change I needed. Everyone wants to play week in week out and it was frustrating not to be picked at Munster. Going back a year and a half I was unfortunate with injuries but I had a good spell fit last year and still lost out on selection. So it’s great to start a fresh in London and hopefully I can re-establish my form.”
O’Leary still has burning ambitions to play for Ireland and aims to wrestle the number nine jersey back from former understudy Conor Murray.
And while he is out of the spotlight of domestic rugby he has been assured national selectors will still keep an eye on his progress at the Madejski Stadium.
He added: “Playing for Ireland is definitely still a big aspiration, I’d love to be back in the squad. It might be more difficult to get picked when playing abroad but I wasn’t getting regular games in Ireland and this move will only improve my chances.
“You look through the fixture list and there are no easy games. It’s really competitive week in week out and that’s exactly what you want if you want to improve. They (Ireland) will be keeping an eye on things over here and if I can get a good run of form Declan might give me a call.”
London Irish kick-off their campaign against Saracens on September 1st.
London Welsh, meanwhile, are to sound out Gavin Henson about joining the Premiership newcomers as the scramble to recruit new players begins.
Over the coming days director of rugby Lyn Jones will contact Henson, who was sacked by the Cardiff Blues in April.
Jones believes the troubled 30-year-old former Wales centre, who would welcome the chance to revive his career, still has something to offer the game.
“I’m not ruling anyone out and I’ll get on to the phone to Gavin to see if he’s interested, that’s for certain,” Jones said. “He used to be a very good rugby player and I’m sure that if he has the appetite he could be a very good one again. He’s one of a number of players that we’ll speak to.”
London Welsh will launch their campaign against runners-up Leicester on September 2nd.