Leinster and Ireland scrum-half, Luke McGrath has said that being chosen for the World Cup squad next year would be a “dream”.
The 25-year-old is competing with Connacht’s Kieran Marmion, and John Cooney of Ulster to be the backup for Conor Murray and with the British & Irish Lion currently out injured, the November Series is the perfect opportunity to impress head coach, Joe Schmidt.
McGrath missed out on a place in the squad for the summer tour to Australia but got the nod to start the game against Italy in Chicago last weekend.
“Conor would be a tough man to replace but for me last week was a great opportunity, I really enjoyed it myself. I hadn’t been in the green shirt in a while, it was great. I was a bit nervous before but incredibly excited and was delighted to get the win in the end.”
“I was extremely excited, almost nervously excited, to get out there especially in a place like Soldier Field.”
“It was an incredible week and as the game went on, I felt I got into it and really enjoyed it in the end.”
Ireland endured a slow start to the game in Soldier Field, leading just 14-7 at half-time, with McGrath claiming one of the first-half tries. However, Joe Schmidt’s men, inspired by Jordan Larmour, turned on the style in the second half.
The Leinster No. 9 knows that they will have to start stronger if they are to overcome Argentina in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
“We were kind of a little bit slow and the first half wasn’t the pace we wanted to play at. We definitely got a bit better in the second half, played with a bit of pace and just moving on from that we’ve got to hit the ground running in this game. That’s the main message so far.”
“They’re a massive threat. They have a big pack who like to run the ball and they’ve a back three that can run off anywhere. If we’re loose with the ball, they’ll kill us and they’re led well by Sanchez at 10 and [Gonzalo] Bertranou, the new guy at nine who has played really well as well.”
“They’re a huge attacking threat and we’ve got to look after the ball.”
McGrath will be hoping for another opportunity to prove his worth this weekend as chances will be few and far between before the World Cup in Japan next year.
“The World Cup would be a dream but it’s so far away at the moment so week-on-week I’m just focusing on getting better as a player and hopefully when that time comes, I’ll be ready. We have to focus on Argentina now and just becoming a better player.”
“We’re going to have to be a lot better this week, all of us.”