Belfast Telegraph

Jack Conan eyes starting place for derby battle with Ulster

By David Kelly

Jack Conan knows that he has little time to learn the values of patience.

Having been suitably impressive enough for his paymasters to allow him to skip the final year of Leinster Academy in order to earn his first pro contract, he is determined to maintain that vaulting progress.

Having landed here now, playing for Leinster in European competition and huge interpros against Munster - and hopefully Ulster on Saturday - there is no time to worry about whether he is the patient type.

"I suppose it depends who you ask," he muses, perhaps patiently. "I suppose I am."

Conan is nominally a number eight; hence the need for depthless pools of patience.

"It's all about playing but at the moment I'm happy where I am," says Conan, seemingly content to somehow elbow his way into one of the most competitive back-row units around.

"I'm doing well in the position I'm in and it's not something I'm going to worry about for another year or two. At the moment I'm here and I'm happy.

"I was sitting down last year to try and think about my future, all the options I have to weigh up. I know I am in a very difficult position with a lot of quality players around me.

"But I kinda backed myself. I wanted to take my shot and see how I went and I'm glad I did."

Presuming Jamie Heaslip is released from IRFU control this weekend so at least some returning emigrants can see him in action at a sold-out RDS, Conan may be benched again; although a blindside berth may be vacated by injuries elsewhere.

"Against Ulster, I expect another physical match," adds Conan. "We know what they are going to bring to the table because they are always one of the most difficult sides to play against.

"It's a chance for us to right a few wrongs. If you look back against Connacht we were a lot better so we'll try to emulate that a bit more come Saturday."

Belfast Telegraph

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