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'If I'm still watching it on YouTube and thinking about it, then it's no good to me'

Andrew Conway will be looking to make another game-changing impact for Munster against Racing 92.

HE HAS SCORED some spectacular tries during his rugby playing days, from the schools game with Blackrock College through the Ireland U20s and into senior provincial rugby, but Andrew Conway’s effort against Toulon must be near the top of the pile.

The Munster wing pulled off an impressive feat in simply keeping the ball in play after Toulon’s François Trinh-Duc sought the safety of touch, before Conway scorched forward for a try that helped Munster into the semi-finals of the Champions Cup.

Andrew Conway runs in a try Conway tears past Toulon's Trinh-Duc. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“You don’t really have time,” says Conway when he’s asked about his thought process in catching the ball and the try-scoring run that followed – one that took advantage of Toulon wing Josua Tuisova expecting that the ball would find touch.

“We do so much work on high balls and small little margins that there’s a lot of that stuff and there’s a lot of those catches that we work on regularly.

“So as it’s going to the touchline, I’m going, ‘I know my feet are in, is it going to go out, is it not?’

“And it was just in that pretty precise area that I didn’t know if it was going to go out, so you just do what you do naturally.

“I thought I was going to be able to catch it and have a go, and I think Tuisova would have just assumed, like most other people did, that the ball was going out and he was marking the quick throw.

“So once I realised that, that there was a bit of space, and you’re 75 minutes into a really tough game, the forwards would have thought it was going out, they’re taking a breather, everyone kinda thinks it’s going out and then it doesn’t.

“That doesn’t happen too regularly and something opens up, and it opens up really quickly, and luckily enough I was in position to have a crack and get in behind the line.”

Though Conway was accommodating in dipping into his memory of the moment this week as Munster prepare for their semi-final clash with Racing 92 in Bordeaux on Sunday, that try is not something he has spent too much time thinking about.

Andrew Conway scores a try Conway dives over for Munster against Toulon. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

From his point of view, enjoying the quarter-final victory was important, but he feels that dwelling on the quality of his match-winning try would be counterproductive.

“I think if it changes too much then you’re going to get stung,” says Conway.

“Celebrating is great, it’s great to score and it’s great for it to have an effect on the result, but if I’m still watching it on YouTube and I’m thinking about it now, then it’s no good to me.

“It would be great if we could look back on it at the end of May as being a pivotal moment in us winning the European Cup, but at this point it was a big moment in a quarter-final that got us to a semi, but now we’re in a semi and that’s a new challenge, really.”

Conway did take a degree of satisfaction from his overall performance at Thomond Park that day, reminding every Munster fan of his quality on what was his return from a frustrating knee injury.

That issue meant Conway was not involved in Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph, when it seems quite obvious that he would have featured under Joe Schmidt otherwise.

“Missing out on things like the Grand Slam, pending selection obviously, is tough and at the time you are watching the lads playing massive international matches that you might have been involved in, again pending selection, but you can only look at these things for so long,” says Conway.

“Again, you change the page and there is a new challenge and at this time of the year you have knock-out rugby if you get out of your group, so you miss out on a few big games internationally, but soon after there is a quarter-final to play in, so it’s great to play in these big games.

Andrew Conway celebrates his try Conway will be key against Racing on Sunday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“That is why we all play rugby, that is why we train so hard and we want to get out of our group, especially getting a home quarter-final.

“Playing in Thomond Park in Europe is just different. You have all been there, there is just something different about it, so they are the big days you play for.”

Happy to be back and injury-free again, Conway will be integral to Munster’s chances of winning in France this weekend.

It looks increasingly likely that Munster will also be boosted by the return from injury of Keith Earls, whose own knee problem has cleared more swiftly than initially expected.

If Earls does link up with Conway in the back three again, Munster can expect that area to be a strength in Bordeaux.

“Earlsy is obviously world class,” says Conway. “He’s played the best rugby I’ve ever seen him play – from watching him as a fan of him when I was a bit younger to playing with him over the last few years – whenever he’s been fit over the last 12 months he’s on a different planet. It’s incredible to watch.

“Saying that, there’s been some pretty good performances from Alex [Wootton], Sweets [Darren Sweetnam] and Calvin Nash.

“Earlsy brings experience, he brings the ability that he has – which is different to everyone else – but there are other guys there that have played extremely well in big games this season, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

“If Earlsy does get back then brilliant, but if he doesn’t then there are guys there that are very, very good players.”

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