Mike McCarthy has plenty to play for at club and country
Leinster secondrow looking forward to Friday night’s game at the RDS and an opportunity to get back to winning ways
Mike McCarthy at a Leinster Rugby press conference: “I really want to go on the tour as everyone does but I don’t think I can look any further than my form for Leinster and a strong finish to the season.” Photograph: Inpho . ,
Mike McCarthy bears just the faintest trace of a mark from an incident last January when he was the victim of a stamp by Ospreys and Wales secondrow Ian Evans during Leinster’s final Heineken Cup pool match.
The Welshman received a red card and a ban that saw him miss the entire Six Nations Championship.
“It has healed up very well. The doc doing the stitching did a great job. So I’m not looking too bad,” McCarthy smiled as he recalled the incident.
Injuries are rarely opportune but for the 32-year-old secondrow that one was particularly poorly timed.
He explained: “I was obviously gutted about it. It put me out of doing any kind of training for two weeks. I was very disappointed.”
The fortnight to which he refers sidelined him while Ireland went through their final preparations for a Six Nations Championship that culminated in outright tournament victory for Joe Schmidt’s charges.
McCarthy continued: “I know myself I was unfortunate to miss those first couple of weeks of the Six Nations camp; other players got chances, played very well and took those chances.
“The competition for places is massive, even those who weren’t in the Six Nations squad are pushing hard.
“There are a lot of secondrows playing very well at the moment which can only be a good thing for Ireland going forward.
“They [Schmidt and Ireland forwards’ coach, John Plumtree] gave me a few things to work on which will put me in a good place going forward to [the summer tour to] Argentina.
“I really want to go on the tour as everyone does but I don’t think I can look any further than my form for Leinster and a strong finish to the season.”
Over the last couple of weekends the Irish province have endured the massive disappointment in the manner of their Heineken Cup defeat to Toulon, followed by the frustration of an ill-disciplined outing at the Liberty Stadium when losing to the Ospreys.
Benetton Treviso pitch up to the RDS on Friday night and they should run into a fired-up Leinster outfit irritated by the dissatisfaction of recent performances and looking to gather momentum as the league reaches a climax next month.
McCarthy admitted: “We need to sort out our discipline from the last week and that should put it in a good place.
“It was a big disappointment coming off the Toulon game and a short turnaround but the lads were mad keen to get stuck into the Ospreys match.
“It couldn’t come soon enough for us,” he said before going on to outline the frustration in which they let the result slip away in those final 10 minutes.
“We’re looking forward to playing at the RDs and getting back on our home track but are under no illusions how tough Treviso will be. They are a big physical team and it’s going to be hard work this weekend.”
Leinster should have plenty of appetite individually and collectively for whatever the duty list requires this weekend and beyond.