It was a case of mixed feelings for Munster and Ireland’s Niall Scannell as he watched on to see his international colleagues secure a historic victory over the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Scannell started against Italy in Ireland’s fixture of this series and was replaced by Sean Cronin at halftime in what have been the only minutes the Munster hooker has secured thus far in this November window.
As a result, the USA game represents an excellent opportunity for the Cork native to remind Joe Schmidt of his qualities and he admits that at times, especially watching the post-match celebrations, it was difficult to look on at Ireland’s achievement.
“You always want it to be you, but obviously, it’s disappointing when the squad is announced on Thursday and you’re not involved,” Scannell admitted.
“After that, you’ve prepped the lads all week. So when you see them executing things we’ve prepped and they execute it so well, you’re 100% behind them.
“It’s more the celebrations afterwards. You see them and think ‘I’d love to be on the pitch up in Dublin’.
“That’s just the nature of the game, I’m happy for the lads and they worked unbelievably hard to get that result. Everyone could see in their performance how on-task they were and how well they delivered. The whole group is buzzing this week going to the USA game on the back of it.”
Scannell made a big impression during the summer when he was drafted into the squad for the Australia series where he ended up starting the second and third Tests.
However, he says that he must put that in the past and look forward to putting in a big performance on Saturday after not getting the minutes he would have liked in a green jersey this month.
“I feel like I acquitted myself quite well in Australia but it’s kind of in the past now. We’ve had this block and I probably would have liked to have played more in this block.
“I haven’t played since Italy so I’m hungry now to get back out and put my best foot forward, you kind of feel like you can’t be…it was obviously great for my confidence at the time but if you want to keep progressing as a player and if you want to keep challenging Rory and Sean Cronin you have to keep moving forward so I haven’t really tried to think of it much.
“I’ll just be concentrating on the USA and making sure I put my best foot forward there.”