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Munster's Arnold hopes to put 'frustrating' injury behind him against Connacht

The 23-year-old suffered a fractured leg earlier this season.

SAMMY ARNOLD IS itching for game time after a January knock derailed his season and the Munster centre is hoping to get back on track against Connacht tomorrow.

His superb form in the early part of the season saw him make his Irish debut off the bench against the USA in November but after featuring in all four opening Heineken Champions Cup games, Arnold’s season hit a big bump after the festive derbies when he fractured a leg.

Sam Arnold arrives Arnold at the Ricoh Arena last weekend. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

That ruled out any Six Nations involvement and indeed Champions Cup rugby and while he returned to action this month, the 23-year-old had to be content with being 24th man for the trip to the Ricoh Arena to take on Saracens last weekend.

The former Ulster player, now in his third year with Munster and with a contract extension which runs until the end of next season, said it was hard to watch their Champions Cup dream end in Coventry.

“I was over there, 24th man with the lads, and the only thing you really can do is contribute positively to the group in terms of energy and feedback and stuff like that,” said Arnold.

“Now it is a case of getting everyone excited for the weekend again. Because, obviously, there’s no rest for the wicked, it’s straight back on the horse and we go again and we give everything we can to win the Pro14.”

Arnold said it’s good to be straight back into competitive action where they need to win to give themselves a chance of a direct route to the semi-finals.

“Connacht have been going unbelievable this year. They’re back in European rugby next season. I expect it to be a really, really good game. Obviously, we can only control what we can control. We need results elsewhere to go our way. But if Edinburgh win in Glasgow, we get the home semi, so that’s the plan.”

He admitted that it has been tough being out injured and then being unable to break back into the side when he returned, but the Surrey native is determined to finish this season on a high.


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Sam Arnold celebrates scoring a try Arnold scored a try on his return from injury against Cardiff Blues. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s frustrating, I picked up a knock in January and it was a lot longer than what I kind of thought it would be. I fractured my leg and I thought it would be a few weeks, and it was around 10 or 11 weeks.

“And then, by which time the team sort of picks itself; you win games, it cements itself towards the end of the season. You pick your most in-form players and I probably haven’t got the minutes at the minute. So hopefully I get my chance this weekend and I can flip the whole thing on its head, but we’ll see.”

Tomorrow’s game at Thomond Park is set to bring Arnold into opposition with Connacht backs coach Nigel Carolan who played a big part in his development.

“I worked with Nige at Ireland U20s and he’s a guy I have an awful lot of respect for,” said Arnold.

“He gave me a lot of opportunities and a lot of chances and he’s a guy who really helped me progress me as a player. He empowers the players to play what they see.

“You see that a lot with Connacht, like kind of free-flowing; if you think something’s on, if there’s a 50-50 offload and you think you have the skill set to get away, he’ll encourage you to do it and if it doesn’t come off, he’ll encourage you to work on that skill to improve it. 

“He’s a great bloke as well as a great coach and I think he’s doing a great job there,” added the 23-year old.

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Declan Rooney

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