Family man

'I remember saying, 'I'm going to be on that plane in four years''

30-year-old Munster loosehead Dave Kilcoyne is in better form than ever.

DAVE KILCOYNE DIDN’T just edge past Jack McGrath in the race for a spot in Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad, as much as charge beyond him in a similar style to one of his explosive carries.

The 30-year-old’s form has been excellent for some time now but in recent weeks, Kilcoyne has accelerated to the point that he looks like being one of the most impactful players in Ireland squad.

dave-kilcoyne Kilcoyne missed out on the 2015 World Cup. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The Munster man is likely to be playing back-up to Cian Healy in Ireland’s biggest games in Japan, but Joe Schmidt is likely to send Kilcoyne into action early in the second halves of games – keen to get his powerful defence and rambunctious ball-carrying onto the pitch.

Kilcoyne is in better physical shape than ever and he’s also being driven by the memory of the pain of missing out on the 2015 World Cup, when McGrath and Healy travelled as Ireland’s two loosehead options.

Dealing with that setback was tough for Kilcoyne but he reflects on the support he got from his family at that time.

“I’m a big family man, my parents have been with me through thick and thin, and my two brothers,” says the Limerick man.

“I didn’t make the last World Cup and I was bitterly disappointed. They’ve been there for me, not so much a shoulder to cry on but they feel the hurt as well when you get that call on the Sunday night to say that you didn’t make it.

“And I suppose they take great pride in seeing me going to this World Cup, my dad, especially, and my mum, they know how hard I’ve worked for this and my two brothers, Alan and Padraig, again they both know how hard I’ve worked to get here, and their messages would probably mean the most.

“After getting that phone call in 2015, I remember having a chat with my brother Alan and saying, ‘I’m going to be on that plane in four years’.

“That was one of the texts that we had between each other, he said he remembered being in my house after I didn’t make it and that he was so proud that I did make it this time.”

dave-kilcoyne Kilcoyne is in superb form. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

31-times capped Kilcoyne made his Ireland debut all the way back in 2012, but it very much feels like he is now heading towards making his biggest contributions in a green jersey yet.

Healy’s superb return to form in recent seasons has been a major boost for Ireland, but Kilcoyne’s performances and physical condition bode well for Schmidt too.

“I put in a massive season, pre-season, even two seasons for it,” says the man team-mates call ‘Killer’.

“Everyone has their eyes on this World Cup – it’s such a massive stage. Then, you have your warm-up game, you have to perform in them and hopefully you do enough to make that call. I was lucky enough to make the 31. 

“I’ve worked very hard over the last number of years in terms of S&C work and nutrition.

“It’s just leaving no stone unturned and everyone targets the World Cup, and it’s nearly more a lifestyle thing for me to try and put myself in the best physical condition to perform at the weekend.

“I’m 30 now and you find exactly what works for your body. I probably do a bit more weights during the week that probably other lads will do and I feel that helps me in terms of everything with strength, with fitness, with trying to remain explosive.

“It’s just trying to find out what works for you and improving it every day.

“I have that written up in my room at home – ‘try and get better every day.’ That’s what I try and do.”

Gavan Casey is joined by Andy Dunne and, from Japan, Murray Kinsella ahead of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opener against Scotland.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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