Ronan Kelleher has opened up on his Lions experience.
While his Lions tour may have been a frustrating one, Ronan Kelleher admits that he found the positives of being away in South Africa, despite not playing.
Kelleher, 23, was brought to South Africa as a late call-up, but he was unable to to force his way into Warren Gatland’s plans in the end.
With that in mind, the Dubliner still admits that he relished his time on tour with the Lions – despite the obvious frustration of not playing.
Ronan Kelleher on the Lions tour.
“It was a great experience and [was] great to get to know the lads and all the coaches,” he told reporters. “Obviously slightly disappointed not to get a bit of a run or anything, but I can’t be too disappointed with it.”
Kelleher has played 13 times for Ireland since making his debut in 2020 – scoring five tries in the process. In July, the hooker equalled a record for the most tries scored in a test match, grabbing four against the USA.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) July 10, 2021
“To go from nowhere, not in the squad to being brought out to train alongside them is still a really positive experience,” he added.
“Also the lads are great and took a lot of learnings from it. But ultimately it also drove in me that I’m not far off, I felt it was a pretty competitive bunch as well. That was one of the big takeaways from it. I felt confident out there.”
While he made his Irish debut in 2020, he only made his Leinster debut a years previous against the Southern Kings in February 2019.
That was after he impressed for Leinster ‘A’ and also with the Ireland Under-20s in the years previous to that.
“I suppose the feedback I got [from the tour] was that they had the experience over me and they had the consistency over that many years,” he finished.
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“But that was all a big factor and yeah, in terms of what I learnt from them over there, they were all great in terms of helping me, giving me little nuggets of information to help me kick on in my game.
“But that was the big thing I suppose. Just kind of their experience, their experience being there in big games.”