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We're focused amid uncertainty: Rowntree



Graham Rowntree

Graham Rowntree

Graham Rowntree

Rugby players always cleave to the focus of the next task. The next ball. The next tackle. The next pass.

But what of the next chat about the renewal of a contract? The next chat which might decide the future direction of your career? Which might confirm whether you have a career at all?

For many in Munster, this uncertainty continues to linger while they wait to be called into the head coach's office. There, a new contract, or a P45, may await.

Some will be more fortunate than others; few will emerge better off. All the while, they continue to tackle and pass and anticipate the next ball until they await their fateful meeting.

It is a troubling time.

Assistant coach Graham Rowntree said: "Of course it is. I remember those times as a player. Johann (van Graan) is in constant dialogue with these guys, he is a very open and warm character and he's vital in this.

"I'm not feeling any of that anxiety in terms of what they're doing day to day. They certainly seem to be keeping control of it nicely at the moment.

"There's always stuff you've got to be thinking about: the next role, the next job, the next lineout lift, the next tactical move.

"There's a lot for them to be thinking about but I feel for them. It's bubbling in the background but I'm not seeing any anxiety spilling over into the working day and they're lucky, they've got a great man they can speak to at any moment, any minute of the day about it in Johann."

Or Billy Holland, the wise old head who, at 35, can afford to be relatively sanguine about what is - or perhaps isn't - lurking around the corner.

"I haven't made a decision yet," said the veteran lock. "I'm constantly thinking about it. 'What do I want to do?' I'm not getting any younger but I'm enjoying my rugby, I'm playing well.

"I want to be involved in the big games on the big days and when that's no longer happening I'll have to think long and hard about it."

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