Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Ben Brady/INPHO Munster's John Hodnett.
Playing for Munster and teaching in St Munchin's all in a day's work for Hodnett
The back rower is continuing his studies while he pursues a professional rugby career and is on placement at the Limerick school.

THE KIDS IN St Munchin’s College in Limerick have been getting the inside track on how Munster are faring this season under new head coach Graham Rowntree as their maths and PE teacher is the province’s promising back rower John Hodnett.

The Cork native is continuing his studies at UCC while he pursues a professional rugby career and is on placement at the renowned Limerick nursery.

His studies have been a welcome distraction in the past few years as he dealt with injury, the most serious which came in November 2020 when he suffered an achilles injury which ruled him out for the remainder of that season.

“Having something else to do is important, I’m still in college, so when I’ve been injured, I have been able to put all my focus on that,” said the 23-year old.

“I’m studying PE teaching and maths down in UCC. I’m in my final year of that.

“It’s going well, I’m actually on placement, I’m teaching inside in Munchin’s at the moment. They’re a sound bunch of lads in fairness.”

Hodnett was the standout performer in the Irish U20 side which won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019 and having made his Champions Cup debut last year against Wasps, he’s looking for a sustained run of games to build on the 24 appearances he has made so far for Munster.

thomas-ahern-and-john-hodnett-after-the-game Steve Haag / INPHO Hodnett, pictured with Thomas Ahern, was part of the Emerging Ireland tour to South Africa. Steve Haag / INPHO / INPHO

Next up is Ulster at Thomond Park tomorrow and he knows they face another searching test if they are to end this block of URC games with a third win in seven.

“They’re a big physical team. They’ve a good backline as well. I suppose we’ll be trying to match that physicality, we’ll be in Thomond Park, so the crowd will be behind us.

“It’s another interpro, they are always big games regardless of previous results. It’s a new week and winning the game at the weekend is the most important thing. We have to forget about the last few weeks.”

Last week’s loss away to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium was Hodnett’s first start of the season, having been away with the Emerging Ireland squad in Bloemfontein, but he learned a lot from that tour to South Africa.

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“It was very good, a really good tour, really enjoyable. I learned a lot, just getting a different perspective on things. It’s about trying to bring that home now and work on my weaknesses,” added the Rosscarbery native.

“It’s just small things and I suppose all the small things add up. There wasn’t anything massively that stood out, just building on the good foundations.

“It’s not a million miles away from how we’re playing in Munster. There are slight differences.

“For me at the moment, I’m just trying to keep fit every week, that’s my main focus.”

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