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'Sometimes you don't know what's going on until it's over' - Tracy ready for Thomond battle

Leinster travel to take on rivals Munster on Saturday.

Leinster's James Tracy.
Leinster's James Tracy.
Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

LEINSTER HOOKER JAMES Tracy admits Thomond Park is “probably my favourite place to play” but he knows what awaits his side when they travel to face Munster on Saturday.

Leo Cullen’s side have started the Pro14 campaign on fire, securing eight wins from eight ahead of this weekend’s derby clash against Munster.

“I’ve had bad days there, but they make the good days all the better,” says Tracy.

“It’s an iconic ground. It’s been sold out for the last few years in this fixture and it’s an unbelievable one to be a part of.

“The bad days are very bad, but the good days – it’s a good feeling when you can get a result down there.

“It probably is a great yardstick of how we’re going. It’s one of the most intense games. It’s tough, tougher than a lot of European games, intensity wise.

“It’s a cauldron down there. Until you’ve been in it, sometimes you don’t know what’s going on until it’s over. The pressure, they’re brilliant at riding the wave of momentum and everything down there.

“It’s a lot different to most other fixtures, the feeling of playing down there anyway.”

In last year’s fixture at the Limerick grounds, Munster sealed a 26-17 victory to complete the calendar year unbeaten at home.

“We were in a good spot going into that game, we had a great week,” recalls Tracy.

“We started the game, got the scrum and line-out, turned and it was one thing after the next. A penalty here, yellow there and the pressure mounts. They’re very good at playing pressure rugby on top of all the external factors.

“So they don’t make it easy for you. If you can get it right it makes a winning all the sweeter, but it’s not easy going down there.”

Tracy found himself behind Ronan Kelleher in the pecking order so far this season, but a hand injury has ruled the 21-year-old out for four to six weeks.

Tracy is determined to grasp his opportunity over the coming weeks and prove to Cullen that he deserves to be in the starting team.

“Ronan in fairness to him he’s been class so far this year. For me, I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot. My opinion on it is: we pick the team. If you’re playing well enough they’re going to pick you.

“At the moment, he (Ronan) is playing really, but I feel I’m in a pretty good spot too.
“I’m pushing him and it means one off-day and, all of a sudden, it could swing in my favour.

“I’m just trying to be the best I can be.

“Even every day, you can’t afford to have one off-day in training because all of a sudden, they’re looking at bringing in someone else.

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“There are four or five of us pushing for one starting spot and one bench spot.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have played every game apart from last week.

“Hopefully, I can keep that going, play my best, pick myself up and do it the week after that.”

“It would be easy if Ronan wasn’t a nice guy. I’d love to hate him, but he’s a lovely guy as well.”

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