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'Future captain of the province' Masterson the latest player off the Connacht production line

The dynamic back-rower is ready to take on Munster at Thomond Park this weekend.

Masterson at yesterday's jersey launch in Galway.
Masterson at yesterday's jersey launch in Galway.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THERE’S EVERY CHANCE that Connacht will again turn to Eoghan Masterson in their hour of need with flanker Nepia Fox-Matamua sidelined with a knee injury, but the utility back-row is excited about the opportunity of turning over Munster and their powerful pack.

At just 22 years of age, Masterson has already carved quite the reputation for himself at the Sportsground. Recently Connacht skipper John Muldoon labelled Masterson as a ‘future captain of the province’ and ‘a real leader’, but he’s keen to repel such praise.

The Portlaoise man has already played at numbers six and eight this season for Connacht, but with Muldoon likely to return after sitting out the win over Brive and Fox-Matamua nursing a knee injury, we could see him in a third back-row position his weekend.

“I don’t know if I’m one of the leaders, I just focus on trying to play my best every time I go out there. Just look after your own stuff and it’s easy after that,” said Masterson, who was speaking at the launch of Connacht’s new limited edition jersey yesterday.

“I have experience playing across the three back-row positions and they all have their own subtleties. I played six last weekend and Pat had a few things to show me that I need to work on.

“I’m not too concerned about leading and telling other people what to do when I need to look after my own jobs and get them right.

“It’s nice that John says things like that but I wouldn’t read into it too much. The most important is to perform well – that’s you currency as a player. If you are telling people what to do and not doing your own job they won’t listen to you very much.”

Masterson played at No 8 the last time the teams met in pre-season at Thomond Park, a game which Connacht dominated and won easily. That day he faced a back-row of Dave O’Callaghan, Jack O’Donoghue and CJ Stander and the likelihood is he’ll face the exact same trio this weekend.

Eoghan Masterson The dynamic back-rower in action against Glasgow earlier this season. Source: Russell Cheyne/INPHO

But Masterson lays little value on that win, he’d much prefer to see a competitive victory for Pat Lam’s side in Limerick, before they start to get too excited.

“Every team prides themselves on their home record, no one more than ourselves. Thomond Park is a big fortress for Munster, they don’t lose often down there.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, so it’s no wonder we haven’t won there in a competitive match in years.

“The pre-season game down there, we managed to get a good win, but that doesn’t count for anything this weekend.

“It was a good performance for us that day, but they have their internationals back in the fray and they add a lot to the team. It doesn’t count for much. If we don’t perform this weekend we won’t get the result. It’s a massive task ahead of us.

“I played last season down there just after the Six Nations. They got one over on us that day, but it was a great experience for me. I think I learned from it and hopefully we can produce a better performance this time.”

The Green Lantern jersey, which will be worn by Connacht at Thomond Park, is available in adult and kids sizes exclusively from Life Style Sports, in store and online at www.LifeStyleSports.ie.

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Declan Rooney

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