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Leinster's Dominic Ryan aims to nail down spot on Ireland team

By Cian Tracey

From the outside looking in, one would expect Leinster's Dominic Ryan to be satisfied with his contribution towards Ireland's successful November series.

But the 24-year old back-row is cut from a different cloth - the kind that refuses to settle for second best.

Ryan made his international debut in the comprehensive victory against Georgia before he was sent back to his province for last Sunday's Pro12 draw in Treviso, rather than being involved in the epic against Australia.

"It's funny, at the start of the season I tend to set goals; my goal was to play with Leinster, then to play in the 'Heinekens' and then my longer-term goal was to play for Ireland and get capped in November," Ryan muses.

"I was really p***ed off then when I wasn't involved against Australia, and even in the first week (against South Africa), despite the fact that I hadn't played for Ireland, I was a bit disappointed not to be somewhat involved.

"I think if you just looked at players' performances in the first few weeks or first few months of the season... I felt I was up there with other players and I suppose it was tight.

"Joe (Schmidt) said to me it was a very tight call, particularly for the Australia game."

Despite his evident frustration of not being more involved with Ireland in the last month, Ryan has allowed himself to take stock of his achievements this season, but there is no fear that he is about to rest on his laurels.

The conversation quickly switches back to the here and now and with Leinster hosting Pro12 leaders Ospreys on Saturday before crunch Champions Cup back-to-back showdowns with Harlequins, Ryan is fully aware of the need to stay focused on the task at hand as he faces stiff competition in an ultra-competitive Leinster back-row.

As the international players filter back into the Leinster's camp, Ryan says that their return comes as a timely boost on the back of what he agrees was a "shoddy performance" against Treviso.

As Leinster's bogey team, Ospreys will provide an altogether different challenge than Treviso

"They're always very good," Ryan says. "They're the ones who seem to beat us the most."

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