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[00:00:04]

Take him dropping back in the pocket, but he must beat them now. OK. Well, the Jackets tried to resist trying to go. He's running for the process, he could be running for the final here.

[00:00:42]

Hello. You're very welcome to Episode one of the Up and Under podcast brought to you by Robillard. Thanks for tuned into the first episode. This is going to be a special monster versus Leinster pod. Some pretty good guesses why we've got ShotSpotter on Nagara S.A.C., why Jamie Heaslip, Peter Ommaney, Johan Von Grande and Chris Faade. So whatever platform you're using, Marape, Spotify or other podcasts or Google podcast. Sure. To subscribe and enjoy the show.

[00:01:16]

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in the fruit salad.

[00:01:26]

Producer Eric. First up, a chat with S.A.C. and Ron Nagara, looking back at their greatest monster versus Lenzer memories and their thoughts on this weekend's game. Absolutely massive game this weekend. Oh, it's huge. It's the biggest week, no matter what, there's just a different buzz and it's a different buzz to European Week quarterfinal semifinal. No matter what anyone writes about us in the media or anything. Any commentary here? It's still the biggest game of the admits.

[00:02:07]

It's hands down just the beauty of the rivalry and the history behind it and the real tribal warfare around it. You it's a week within the within the season that you just want to get right. So, ma'am, it is just no better game than my eyes to come back to rugby. And there's no second chance is no warm up. It's one hundred and seventy five days with no rugby and then went straight into a into a monster match of the which is phenomenal.

[00:02:36]

And I think from a player's point of view, what better way to do it than face monster.

[00:02:43]

First up, no new signings for Leinster. He said. Does that surprise you? Yeah, it doesn't surprise me at all. The way to invest in the younger guys and to give the young academy guys an opportunity to step up. More often than not, they're stepping up and performing at a really high level, which is now, now a common trait of of the leaders that Academy and guys like you took speaking to Stuart and Leo during the lockdown and the way they've kept players engaged.

[00:03:21]

The links that they've gone through doesn't surprise me at all. And what's with Stewart's mindset around how you might not be in the team? There's a responsibility that you have to uphold. And then there's a huge mental side and a technical side that. We can brush up on our skills from that area, so there was a lot going on. I know that the players continue to stay engaged. I know there was a lot of player driven contact throughout that time.

[00:03:51]

So the ladies of joining in the likes, keeping players engaged, keeping them up to date with everything that's going on, rugby wise and then obviously contract wise. So there's been great engagement across the board and there'll be nothing worse than coming back thinking, man, we sort of wasted a little bit of that time. And I know that's definitely what you would be worse even from a you know, you'd be kidding yourself if you actually let slip physically.

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That will never be an issue with the guys. But the fact that you can plan ahead and take some huge learnings tactically from that time, that's probably time you usually get during a season.

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Looking back on your own time at Leinster ISA, what's your most memorable Munster versus Leinster moment? Probably this one on my wall. I don't know if you can see that the the 09 match.

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I've only got one sort of picture on my wall and it's that monster one. I think why it was so memorable is just running out of Croke Park. And the whole stadium was like a chessboard that was phenomenal. Remember running out of Rocky, also going, what the hell are we doing here? Like this is this is outrageous. There were too many blue buttons and seats at that stage, but as kickoff time, it must come from the pubs a little bit later.

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But it was a phenomenal game and just such just such an occasion, really, and something I always look back fondly on. So it's the one picture I hear about them in my office. That one.

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Was that a huge turning point for cancer when you when you look back at what exactly that led to?

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Oh, it was just it was just a huge day and a huge occasion, you know, joining sixteen's kick, just so many, so many things that went well that day. And then since then, it's sort of just continue to build the rivalry. And it's not just a play at Croke Park in front of eighty four thousand people. Eighty two thousand people at the time was pretty phenomenal. And I never actually watch the game again. But it's just something that always sticks out in my memory sticking along those lines.

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I know it's going to be a tricky one, but looking back, it was the best, most apparent you've ever played against.

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Oh. Oh, God, I remember being at the bottom of the rock from Mecca, Driskell, he had a knee and my I say my neck was probably my neck and it was just it was then that era of forwards let go Driskill, Poliakoff, Paula and the likes. Then you have to then you how to control a match, which was pretty phenomenal. And that meant locking, peering at that time. I remember losing a match down there and they were able to run the clock down with about four minutes to go when we were trying to desperately trying to get the ball back.

[00:06:48]

And it was not clear why and how it was going to happen. They just calmly navigated that whole last four minutes, which felt like an eternity for us. But they just had full control and they knew how to handle a match. And that's you don't come across that too often. But that's sort of that old school months. The era of forward pack was what's so experienced and so physical and they understood each other. And that's really hard to play against.

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When you're playing against the quality of those loans.

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Do you think that's where the game will be won or lost again this weekend? So how important is to the battlefront? Oh, look at to stats up front. No matter what anyone says, the battle is the battle within its own game. Fingers crossed. You know, ultimately, it's the head on his fingers crossed the left, the forwards can put the ball on a platter for the villains, the blacks. But yeah, it starts up front.

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You can't do anything without setpiece dominance. And I think your win is as important a way to get them right as this match starts up front. And that is the onus of the of the tight five to do that job.

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What kind of effect do you think the lockdown has had on Johnny Sexton? Sinisa, do you think the few months off will benefit him in terms of longevity going forward?

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Yeah, I think this does look down. You look at the positives out of it. There would be so many guys out there that this would have benefited massively. You know, these guys have written sabbaticals into their contract. This is unofficial sabbatical for guys to actually get their body right and get over niggles, get on top of some of the the strength and conditioning that you just don't get those windows throughout a season. So this would have done huge for Giannis body maybe play on he's forty two I don't know but even mentally also I think it's definitely been a I've had such good things for a lot of the guys around how Giannis lead off the field through lockdown and keeping guys engaged.

[00:08:54]

Keeping the links the squad engaged. You know he's always looking at ways to get better. He's always looking at ways for the team to get better tactically also. So I know there was a lot going on in the background to make use of this time and one hundred and seventy five days without rugby you'd be pretty gutted if you came back in and thought that you had wasted time and missed the jump on actually trying to get better. So I know Giannis been a big catalyst for the links to guys and leading off the field and just keeping those, keeping those links the standard superhigh so they come back and don't miss a beat.

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And he's the he's the catalyst and the and the heartbeat behind that still in terms of our player.

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Well it's very important now how the players are managed for the next few months isn't it, because of what the fictionist mean. It's all congested because of the backlog.

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Yeah, yeah, I massively agree. I think the how the coaches and medical staff manage the whole squad will be key for the back end of this campaign and then the start of the next, which will roll around so quickly. Plus, you know, fingers crossed, internationals, they'll be they'll have to be such consistency across the board for player welfare to ensuring this the provinces are getting the performances that they needed, but then also the squad is rotated well to prevent those injuries.

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And I think that's one of the learnings coming out of Super Rugby. Altiero is Monette's brutal week in, week out. You've got New Zealand teams facing each other and it's it's Wammy whammy. Look, you're going to back it up a few days later, you know, and a lot of those was a lot of comments throughout the whole of Super Rugby around how physical it was and how demanding and taxing on the body. So I think a lot of European teams, at least amongst the different, we'll take learnings from them and say, hey, we've just sort of managed the next few weeks and then manage the rest of this year really well.

[00:10:58]

From a squad point of view, any plans to go back to rugby at some stage? You say, are you happy where you are at the moment?

[00:11:04]

I'm loving where I'm at at the moment for the age my girls are at school. You know, the amount of activities we. Can actually do as a family. I'm really, really enjoying that, but there will be a time, I think. I just don't know when I think of the landscape of what sport has been like in the last six months. Was probably a good time to be away from it, really. But I think when the timing's right and it's right for us as a family, we'll really love getting back into the sport environment.

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I think you just get emotional in Stockton so quickly that it's emotionally draining, but it's also a challenge. So when the timing's right and, you know, it's since my girls and my wife and I can't wait to sort of get back into a sport environment, will you be getting up early on Sunday morning over New Zealand to watch the game?

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So I kind of like kind of like, you know, my girls will and they've already got that Leinster jerseys on and ready. But yeah, I'll be having it early denison's on Sunday morning at six thirty five. I think it'll be kind of like it's, you know, it's the to the game I love the most is the least amongst the mix above all else. And I just can't wait. It's there's no better game to have than at least amongst the.

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But it'll be quite nice to enjoy, to enjoy a Guinness on a Sunday morning over the match. And I won't have any one to feel guilty about it at all.

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So it'll be pretty cool to kind of like Joe Schmidt was linked to it a role. But Wallaby there this week said, do you think the sport misses him?

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Would you like to see him back in a role of some capacity on a sport as the sport was badly missing without Joe?

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Joe Johns has his mind, has rugby mind, just sets them apart from the majority of the rugby world. There's not too many that think like him and ought to. I heard about the role that he has named most people down for a lot of no role. He pretty much be able to do it with ease and tell everyone what to do from day one. But he's he's just it's just one of those rugby minds about these guys like Wayne Smith that you hear about, that we met involved with rugby.

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Things happen and things change and new ideas are brought to the table. And I think that's what Joe will bring. And I think maybe some time away without the pressures of day to day talking, will only heighten what he can think of next. And you need you need great minds and rugby to keep the game evolving or else it'll be boring. So, yeah, the sooner he gets back involved in some capacity, the better. Another top coach who's been in the headlines a lot recently.

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He's he did an excellent job of connecting. He seems to be on an even better job at Bristol. Do you think he's someone who could potentially be a few drawbacks, Coach?

[00:14:08]

Yeah, he's he's a phenomenal coach. Absolutely phenomenal. And in the end, has his model and the culture that he generates within the club changes. And there's a real has a real huge impact exactly what he did to connect and no different what he's done in Bristol. And he'll be chasing silverware for sure. That's exactly what he'll do. So he's got all the. I think he'll tell you he'll only work some of that. He's got the full support of the board behind him.

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And he can express his vision to the players and the fans and the club. And as soon as he's got that Buy-In, he's a world class coach and we've seen that. So, yeah, he's his name is on the shortlist for so many international jobs that has his name on the All Blacks mixer's is a no brainer down the line. Cheers.

[00:15:01]

Thanks, Lisa. Enjoy the game this weekend. Roland, looking back on your time at Munser. What's your most memorable moments of our Leinster game?

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Oh, I'd have to be the one to Landsdowne Road and all six of the.

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Yeah, I was again, we couldn't we? Wee wee. We needed to win, obviously, because we've been trying to win the European Cup for that was going into our sixth year, you know, so plenty of all demons in my own head, because until you win silverware, you're not too sure whether you're good enough to do it.

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So that was a huge game. There was. I think it is. It caught the attention of everyone in the country, and I remember it was massive pressure build up to it, and then I suppose the way it went on game day, we we executed our plan really well and was extremely pleasant.

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And who do you think is the best Lenzer player you've ever played against?

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The best player we played against would be Brian O'Driscoll. Well, when he played, he could just make things up, and so he was always dangerous, very, very dangerous.

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Where do you see the game being won or lost this weekend? Running on?

[00:16:26]

I think all you have to recognize how good Leinster are, first of all, I think it's important in terms in terms of been in the last word, particularly since they've been successful, they've continued to be successful, which is sometimes it's not that easy, but they seem to have really kicked off a level with Stewart and unloyal running the show there.

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Their consistency of performance is very good, very, very good. And obviously they huge confidence and trust within them. But that is saying that, I think. Monster probably will look for a big I'd say a huge confidence from the two to South Africans coming in because it just makes them Squantum stronger squad and you also have a stronger bench. And the fact that if you have those two upstaters, that just means that whoever the two unlucky guys lose out means that they're going to add something when they come onto the pitch because they are normal starters from Monster.

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So the competition for places would be better, training would be better monster. I think their bottom line is probably the area that they look to get most brought from, because if you go through it one by one, they have an awful lot of really, really, really good players.

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So I think just probably need a little bit of time together and they would have got that your post locked down to probably find a little bit of a little bit of relationships and groove among themselves.

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Any positions we should be keeping a close eye on this weekend in terms of our inflection?

[00:18:12]

I mean, that's the beauty of it. It's it's probably a lot of the guys in blue have probably don't have the DeNardo over the monster large at the minute, with a few exceptions. But, you know, if you play well this weekend, you're very close to to to to feature in the green jersey. Nothing has changed in the last 20 years. It's. You know, this is four teams and. If you play a wildfire on your sparking fear for your province, you're there one foot in the door and the Irish team just looking at the two Springboks again, wrong.

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And I'm telling Dan Simon, two very different players to two very different positions, which are which I think is more important for Munster.

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Well, I think it's the combination that works brilliantly. I think, you know, your presence as huge as the top level of sport, a lot of guys. Maybe who don't play wouldn't really understand that, but sometimes you don't have to say anything, you just know by looking into another guy, Zais, that this guy isn't going to let me down. And they've got an enforcer up front. They've got a and was unbelievably impressive in a World Cup.

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So it just shows that I mean, I think monster to a good 12 is our world class 12 will add a huge amount to them. So I think they're really, really lucky in that regard.

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But I think it would also give a lot of confidence to the senior players, the monster, the fact that they're probably driving us probably a consistent message for a period of time. It's also good as a player where you of get a really good player in that might have a different outlook on things. And he might give a different flavor to how the week is run or how a team meeting is wrong.

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And that might be just the kind of the the boost are the kind of sharing of the responsibility or sharing of the mental illness.

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Does that a lot of the kind of decisions are Peter or Connor need and our unagi need and monster that it's kind of becomes not not the four of them that are that are carrying everything that they have kind of World Cup winner Saturday to to to get their point across.

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And that can maybe let them at different stages of the season, actual the game concentrate on their own game. And maybe that might be the five percent they need to be to to have a better game on a Saturday.

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And what would you look for in a good 12 children and who's the best one you've ever played alongside? And I would say that's it. It's very, very different. I played with an awful lot of of of the, you know, Eugene de Villiers. You grew out of Porky's, Trevor Holstege, McMullen's, Richardson, Killian Keane. So much from there are they are so different players. But it depends on I think it's really, really important that you use them on what they're good at, i.e. Topolski is a very different to a Trevor has not yet.

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They can be extremely effective, but you've got to be smart how you use them. So everyone would presume that Trevor has to carry the ball, but you can also use them as a decoy is the same, which is the same with going to Topolsky.

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He doesn't he can manipulate the fenders when he doesn't have to essentially take the moment for mine. He realizes that you're Spaceland inside shoulder and outside shoulder. So what's crucial for him is where he gets the ball from his ten hours inside passer saw. And there were so many good guys in my time this year.

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Mean I don't think I do anyone any favors by selecting one.

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I just finally on those two assignments on and then she gets a little unfair the way people kind of give out about Monster going to the outside to bring these guys in and not using their academy when they kind of forget that they don't really have the same they're on the same population and on the same resources that are on the same academies and schools that have. So they're going to have no choice but to bring these guys in in order to in order to compete.

[00:22:30]

Yeah, but I don't think I'm oblivious to all that. I don't really understand or hear any of that. But I suppose the other side of it, too, is that, you know, it's a professional game. You can have all the the academies and and the and the strength and depth and all the structures extreme the right way to judge how much a first team does some wants in order to have a great chance with these two guys to to to deliver a performance that could get them over the line against against Leinster.

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If they do that, then so many of the I suppose the theories about how the clubs are run will change. It was always the way, you know, I think or whatever. Between 2000 and 2009, it was it was Monsur who were dominant then Leinster have taken over. And I said, I want to probably this current group of players realize that they want to change that. But the quality Leinster have that that's that's a big ask.

[00:23:36]

Cheers. Thanks, Ronan. Enjoy the game on Saturday. To celebrate Mobley's return, Kinesis teamed up with. Trivium Limited edition can test your pockets to purchase a limited edition if there's a shock jock. Two absolute giants really enjoy chatting to Ron. Up next, we have monster head coach Johan Van Grahn, Captain Peter Ommaney and center Chris Farrell looking ahead to this weekend's game.

[00:24:12]

So if someone is determined to get on his case, if I want to hear this. Now, listen to me. I want to to you. What the fuck is going on here for the first five minutes? Every fucking body.

[00:24:33]

Are you in terms of selection this weekend, RG Simon and Amy Delenda, I think continue to start.

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They available for selection. So Jason, we will. We still got a few training sessions left in the week. Obviously we didn't have all the training sessions we want last week. So if they come like all other players through their training sessions this week, both of them will be eligible for selection for Saturday evening.

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A lot of hype around Monster at the moment, Johan, with the new signings and the fact that Graham and Stephen have had time to settlin, is this the strongest group you've had since joining the province?

[00:25:09]

Oh, look, firstly, I think no, we haven't played a warm up game yet. Are here. Damien Roman and McKeller haven't played a game of us yet. We've we've been together for four weeks. So, you know, like like all teams. I'm sure you would have seen the start of the New Zealand and Australian Competition and even the Premiership. You know, all the first games were were kind of stop start affair. So, you know, hopefully we hit the ground running, but it will take time for those four gentlemen to bed in terms of the squad.

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Look, we're looking to improve our squad year on year. Certainly very exciting to to have players of the calibre of the four gentlemen coming in. So really looking forward to to see them in a month to Jersey.

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Where do you see the game potentially being won or lost this weekend, Johan?

[00:25:59]

Oh, we're going into the Aviva Stadium against Leinster. We've been only lost one zero fourteen game and I don't know, the last 19 or 20. They're unbeaten the whole of last season. So, you know, they are they certainly know weaknesses in their squad. Very good lineout, no fantastic scrum. They continue to go are excellent and so are their defense. So now we'll have to be very good to to beat them in the avivah. But our focus has been very much on ourself.

[00:26:34]

We give them the respect that they deserve. They are clearly currently the best team in Europe. And, you know, this is a start of a new competition for us over the next hopefully four weekends. But the only thing we know for a fact is we've got two games against Leinster.

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And thank you, Peter. Looking forward to getting back and playing bit.

[00:26:55]

Yeah, look, it's great. It's it's been a long time. It was kind of middle of January since I played for Monster. So what role monster is the stage? It's good to be back. It's it's been a long road, you know, certain one, which is probably the most the most troubling, you know, because our high school sport in general was a long way down the list regard to priorities for a long time. But, you know, from an actual players point of view, it's it's not something you're used to is uncertainty or used to having schedules and having a routine.

[00:27:32]

And, you know, everyone was was trying all of that. And as I said, our side of things was fairly insignificant. But, look, it's certainly good to be back. And, you know, good balls are on the camp this week that we're we're able to to get into a game as the weekend began this weekend.

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In terms of our selection, Peter, a lot of yards, he's up for grabs. Oh, look. It's look, it's an uproar. It's it's the rivalry. It's you know, it's every nickel with Munster Leinster game. There's no changes there, you know, I mean, obviously, we haven't played in a long time that that'll be a factor for both teams. But, look, it's it's paramount. The weekend is trying to do as well as you can for your team.

[00:28:16]

And that's cause for concern, is that Ron Nagara reckons the two new signings in Delenda and snowmen, there could be a real boost to senior players like yourself. Kiraz Kanamori easy just under because I suppose they can they can carry the mantle at different stages during the season and allow you to focus on your game. And that could be that extra five percent that get you over the line. That could be the case.

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Look, obviously, with all the guys we've seen, they've all come from very successful backgrounds.

[00:28:44]

You look at obviously Roman from Leinster, the two guys coming off World Cup wins, you know, does does a huge amount of of.

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Positive to take out a sign and goes like that, and we've no doubt the reason we're selling them is they want to do well and have an impact. And, you know, they've got to go and do that now. It's you know, they don't have any right to play well. They've got to go and play with themselves alongside the rest of us. You know, that's what we're all going to be doing together is is trying to play our best will be for Monster and try and get Monster will be winning, you know.

[00:29:25]

Cheers. Thanks, Peter. Chris, what's it been like training with Timmy Dillon? They have picked up much off each other.

[00:29:32]

Yeah, really good. Damien was David was injured for for a little while or was being reintroduced slowly because of the slight injury. So he's been back maybe two and a half, three weeks now. And and, you know, you can just see his quality straight away. He's someone and comes from top top pedigree. And, you know, he's really come on the ball. And that's something that I think I can I can learn from way he gives himself time and he gives himself space and he makes decision making quite easy and he looks really calm.

[00:30:02]

He's one of those players who buys himself time. And as I said, that's really important. And he's quite a skilful ball chain centre as well, despite a perception that he might be, you know, a trucker. He certainly is not. He's got to he's got to have low skills. So and yeah. Big opportunity for you this weekend.

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Chris, are you looking forward to coming up against John Ringrose? Yeah.

[00:30:21]

Yeah, I can. With and no matter who you're up against, it's mostly Leinster at the end of the day. And it's a derby game. You know, we haven't had any practice runs. There's no pre preseason games. It's straight into the next seven, straight into the heart of what's going to be a massively attritional game. And, you know, to play against two that I'm competing with and alongside Damian, you know, it's it's going to be really, really competitive and it's pretty exciting.

[00:30:49]

Cheers. Thanks, Chris.

[00:30:50]

Give me if I get this, I'll give you that and take photos and daughters. I've never seen them connect at all.

[00:30:58]

What do you do. Yeah, why not. First line open for five and thought.

[00:31:07]

Ah ha ha ha ha ha. Oh five oh oh oh oh oh hey. Yeah. Oh my God.

[00:31:27]

To see that like the way I connected with him, Golden had to stay. You don't see too many? No, it's landing at coming from the touchline. Jamie, welcome to the show. How you keeping?

[00:31:45]

I'm good. Yeah, I'm good. I'm good. I'm I'm like everyone else. I'm figuring out my the way I get through this this this world of covid and. Yeah, it's exciting. You know, it looks I mean, not that it's exciting, but it's very interesting to see what gets thrown off and how people react and, you know, across different industries. And what I do now and then also, you know what? We're here to talk about rugby and seeing the the transformation of some of the guys over the last five, six months.

[00:32:24]

You know, you'll be friendly with sexto and church and guys like this. And, you know, seeing them was actually running a little bit of church during the lockdown, albeit from a distance. But we were kind of doing running together. And, you know, it was really impressed with with how a lot of these guys have. Have taken the opportunity to to really use the time wisely in a Rovi perspective, what I mean by that is talking to people like literally I just came from conversation to NeuroSky this the weekend.

[00:33:01]

I was like, you got to understand, really, if you include the four weeks holidays on average, these guys get at the end of the season and traditionally they would have gone about eight weeks, maybe even 10 weeks, usually about eight weeks, including the holidays of of no contact. OK, and. And just really focused heavily on training as such, right? But they basically have had. At least about four months, not five months of that before they did any contact, and so most guys, Nagel's injuries gone and we're able to put on huge slabs of muscle or or work on their their their kind of their engine.

[00:33:50]

And and you're seeing, like the infamous picture going around the sexo at his top off with those arms on them. And, you know, I was I was straight out and going once the program you're on there because I've never seen such improvements. But it's it's it's great to see that. And it gets me really excited about this weekend because, like, that's going to be the same. And I actually think the Irish guys, you know, my experience has been they've been a lot more.

[00:34:20]

And in the past. I think they'd been better professionals, if I'm honest and and I don't know if that's the system or the way it said. But but but that's what I've seen. And I think a lot of them would have leaned heavily into this and gotten really good gains. And that will make for some some some some big collisions and interesting times come Saturday.

[00:34:45]

Looking ahead to this weekend's game. Jamie, what do you think it would be like having no crowd? Maybe it's a good question.

[00:34:50]

And it's interesting seeing some of the, you know, the comments off the players and so. And what aliments? You should say it shouldn't, you know, because the game is the game, but I think even if you see in soccer, I think some of the stats are really telling where they're seeing that actually the ball is in play more. It's not kicked out as much in soccer with with less with people not there, although some of them are piping in noise and stuff like that.

[00:35:20]

And look, we've I've been involved in training sessions where they type in noise to get used to what it potentially will be like and what you'll be able to hear everything. You know what I mean? It's going to be really eerie in that regard. And so you'll have you'll have no excuse for not hearing the call or hearing someone call you out for a pass or something like that. Sometimes guys conveniently use that as an excuse, but. Yeah, it's you know what it really means.

[00:35:49]

I think it means that people got to double down on their mental preparation and for the game because because sometimes you can you focus on the process and you box off everything so that you know, that come game day and that emotional side of things, the crowd have a lot to do with that. And the crowd have a lot to do and not just on game day, but actually throughout the week. So that buildup, like the lads, you've got to remember, they're not getting the interaction with other people going.

[00:36:21]

I'm excited about going to the game. Or if you got a ticket or, you know, the hype machine that builds up around it, you know? With social distancing, people literally aren't around each other as much and interacting with each other as much, so it makes for. It makes for, you know, the need for you to really. Not have access to that energy source that's call for emotional energy and you've got to work on building that yourself and that's just another element of those kind of things that you've got to take off along the way.

[00:37:00]

Looking at things in terms of Ireland selection, like a lot of toy cars there at the moment, like you've got the back road, like Sideris coming up against Samani and Standard. You know, who's going to be six, who is going to be a second or how might possibly come up against law because we know he's going to be eligible soon. So they really got to stake their claim. So back when you were playing, like, did you look at it in that way?

[00:37:19]

Like it kind of like, oh, I went up against crinoline this week against falling. I need to go because if I'm not, I could potentially lose my spot in the autumn.

[00:37:27]

Well, with those guys, it was more like I want their spots. And I wasn't too worried about quitting Axel. Axel was was I actually quite looked up to Axel because he was very much of a footballing age and which which I like to think I tried to be at times. And like, I was never going to be a big believer in a political base like that kind of thing. So I will look up to his game. And I remember being in the academy and and you used to what I used to do anyway was like eights that you really liked the way they played you to analyse their game and look at.

[00:38:12]

And I would have looked up at Axel. So going up against and playing against them was kind of a cool moment in that regard. But also it was someone you set your standard, he set the standard. So you were trying to hit that standard, do you know what I mean? And and it didn't really matter to me if you won or lost, you almost wanted him to kind of go. You almost wanted him to be a little bit worried about you.

[00:38:33]

So you'd get a little bit of respect from them, I suppose. And so I suppose we'll do a similar kind of ground to say where some players are now. And for me, what have been made against Dennis Leamy and Lean's, who I would have battled along with like my trinities, he was Yuxi and I'll never forget going up against him and Stephen Kella in the U.S. team. To say they knocked out several different colors, the shit out of me was is an understatement.

[00:39:07]

Like if that was an interesting day in College Park, the two boys at that age, I was 19. They must I think they were twenty one and they were men. They were they were proper men. And they had that like. The farmers front and I like to like to call it, you know what I mean, and and anyway, but but as I would have been Lenzer and stuff like that, I mean, is the one who have the green jersey and you wanted it, but he was also the standard setter as well.

[00:39:39]

So so so you try to aspire to be like them, but in your own your own way. So when you look at the battle that's going on now, let's say S.J versus Calan. Right. We don't know what the team is yet for the weekend. But, you know, CJ is a very you know, he'll run all day. He'll he'll carry all day for you. And that's the game. And I think Kaylan will and can can do that, but, you know, do a little bit more.

[00:40:13]

But so it's a case of like is that the standard or can Keila master standard and unadopt that bit more that we're talking about? And and that becomes look, there are good headaches and good conversation to have, especially from a management point of view in terms of strength, depth, the squad and what that's like. Coming back to my original point, let's make no bones about it. The Interpol game, particularly the Leinster monster game. It's still basically like a child's game, like like it used like like way back, I know it's it's 014 and stuff like that, but it's a child's game and they're looking at this to see, OK, who you know, who do we want not green jersey come October or November.

[00:41:01]

And and if I'm honest, calenders like the larger Lokey that he got knocked out early on, the Six Nations, because, you know, I think that I think that kid has. I think he's the best in the country on this day and saying that C.J. was playing some really good rugby and during the Six Nations of the Six Nations. Yeah, so. So. It's going to be really interesting come this weekend how how that battle turns out and then then you get into conversation.

[00:41:36]

OK, well, can you played it to them on the same team you play C.J. at sixty six, you and then we haven't even talked about, you know and you know, you've got a daughter who, you've got Max Degan, you've got Joshua on the floor running, you know, I mean you have Sean who's back playing over in London and you know, Eddie Murphy. But, you know, you got all these different players. So it's but this weekend, that would be somewhere if you're looking at the park might be one area I'll be looking at closely looking at the two Springboks coming in, Delenda and Snakeman.

[00:42:15]

They're obviously, you know, what everyone's talking about, you know, to work opener's.

[00:42:19]

But it was like looking back in the olden days when, like when guys like Rocky Elsom come in, guys like ESU, Bratten, they're really pushy to that next level. And kind of I suppose O'Gara was saying to me during the week that when you have these guys in the team, that's for the more senior players were saying, the senior players, a monster would be like O'Mahoney or Stender back in your day would have been yourself and O'Driscoll. And then it kind of when you have those guys come in like rockets and comes into view, you can take that mantle off your where I can focus on my own game and give a little extra five percent because I've got this guy beside me just does it does it make much of a difference having one or two superstars in a team to come in from the outside?

[00:42:59]

Yeah. You know, so it's like let's take a step back in terms of the different the two different kind of let's call it recruitment drives this year, very, very different between the clubs. And, you know, Monster had recruited two outstanding Tomlins World Cup talents and and they're in really interesting spots. So like at twelve, they're Dillon. They like. Like Monster of always had a really strong Twelve's that gave them momentum. The first phase got them over.

[00:43:35]

The gain line is a whole lot easier to get round the corner and launch or play off start and took pressure off different. And it'll be really interesting to see Joey be back at 10:00 with that person outside of a 12. Like I don't know about you, but I'd be really excited to see that because if you're not 10, 12 defendants. You got some problems, nightmare, you know what I mean? Yeah, yeah, you got some you got some problems.

[00:43:59]

And that would that 13 would then stop biting in and that can give space to Achonwa to an URL's, you know what I mean? Which from a monster perspective they need. Because, look, I think they have and they are disappointed in their attacking prowess in from from their back line. And and I think we're not disappointed because of the players that they have. But maybe the is the one that change that is that small change they need is that impetus, is that outside influence that they need?

[00:44:33]

And a different point of view. And I think that's what players from other environments coming into a new environment bring. Lenzer went a different way. Obviously, they they've promoted five guys in the economy and but they still always bring in this outside influence. I think it's very, very important that clubs keep doing that. So from my perspective, the Landay and Simon are huge and additions to the squad and it builds as well on top of that. And Jason, it builds out like the the depths, the strength and depth of the squad.

[00:45:08]

So more competition, better guys on the bench. And, you know, it means that, you know, that the 50, 60 minute mark, when we see so many SOB's now and you know, you have that you have better depth in that regard. So there's a couple of different things and I play there. But in essence, having guys like that coming from an outside investment environment, having just won the World Cup and knowing what that's like, bringing that in, and because, you know, Monzer haven't had a lot of success over the last few years.

[00:45:43]

And so so they need these guys like granted somebody internationals and have at it in and eighteen with Ireland and 15 and 14 with Ireland, some of them, and they still haven't had a club level. So you need these, you need more guys who have tasted success to bring that down to the squad. So from one perspective, I think it's really interesting and I'm really excited to see the two of them, particularly at Ronder 12, if he gets the nod, hopefully does and and see the difference that he can, that he can make.

[00:46:16]

And then come back to your original point for people like James Onat from a Lance perspective. And look, I tell you what, I actually never paid him. I was there at the same time, but I was injured, really good guy, and has been given a lot of freedom. I think short Lancaster in general has given. And a lot of players like I a year was short and I loved. The freedom he gave players, again, wasn't a very structured format.

[00:46:45]

He gave a system away playing. But but, you know, it's comfortable and chaos type training. And I think you see that like James, though, epitomizes that and he's thrown off those beaten. He's turning up all over the place, playing with a freedom and a fondness and join us. And I think, you know, he brings that. Alternative perspective as well, and not just from a plane perspective. This is the other side that the other guys that bring back, not the kind of hurry to point for you, but, you know, they'll bring a different cultural perspective on things and a different value perspective, because that's always good as well to test the values of a squad by someone who.

[00:47:29]

Who doesn't know if he's coming into it now and he's come from another environment and. And and just really test those values and see what it's about and see if it sticks and it might, but they might also bring some really good learnings from their own environments.

[00:47:46]

Any monster games, as you played, you played in a kind of stick out over the years, like your favorite game you played and not necessarily the resolve to just kind of the game itself.

[00:47:56]

Yeah, well, like yeah, like it's a good question because there have been so many legal battles, Hasner, like so many battles and and I've been on. On the receiving end of wins and losses. And for a long, long time, man, you know, we couldn't we couldn't win against a monster like, you know what I mean? Like, it was it was tough. And when I think of a year like. If I think the most influential monster games, monster landscapes that I was involved in.

[00:48:30]

And 06 and in. Lanzarote, always in it was a most great park, I think it was. I could get the date wrong, but I'll tell you what, I'm thinking of that one. And then 09, Croke Park and an obvious one. Yeah. Yeah. And I feel like it's kind of normal and just kind of story arc and like six walking out onto lands. Step back that week. I know guys not change room that we're selling tickets to monster fans.

[00:49:06]

Which was the the the the lack of pride in what Landser stood about, you had you know, you had people from Landser where most of these games give my mates to me and my mates from so from nice and, you know. Support monster. That really hurt me, like really, really hurt me. And, you know, I remember walking and I don't blame them, by the way, because. The team that points had me to give them a whole lot to be proud about.

[00:49:42]

They'd been a group of individuals, they hadn't been a group, a team, and that's what Cheka did really well. He he cleared house. He got rid of he got rid of these different silos of people and run out into the fields in 2006, I'd say, well, 75, 80 percent. The crowd is red. Yeah, like the press, you know what I mean? And then, like, you know, it was a really cool game, then it broke wide open and I'll never forget.

[00:50:16]

Ron is jumping the fire into the crowd like it's just kills me and kills me and. But I was a kind of I think for everyone who's involved in the Landser organization, it was it was a turning point and yeah, that we what we were doing wasn't right. We had to change and we had to give people something proud about and put pride back into Jersey and. And then that was held. So there's a lot of learning from that loss, but then I think it was always I could I could have gotten it wrong, but we played most great part.

[00:50:58]

And it was the first time we beat a monster in a long time and. And it was a most grave and it was a horrible day in lashing rain. I think the score could have been nine, six or something. Not a good game to watch like Ollie Leroux was playing, so actually it could have been seven on. Ali Leroux was playing in that game, I believe. And it now these kind of characters, I think I could have been playing, actually.

[00:51:28]

And so she probably was around seven time. And it does matter anyway, but. You know, it was one of those not a pretty game, but we actually roll up our sleeves and there was this whole like Lenzer ladyboys was a thing back then. And we actually, you know, we beat Monster playing a monster type way, you know what I mean? It was a very forward dominated type game. Can go one off, will be an arm wrestle of a game that traditionally.

[00:52:02]

We we if we went toe to toe in that kind of game, Monster would wipe the floor with us. So and again, it was another kind of step on the ladder. And then 09 was, I suppose, a bit of a slaying of the Dragons type day and and the start of something. And, you know, we talked about Lanser back as far as Oase and wanting to create a dynasty legacy because, well, in my head, that's what I told myself because I was a big fan.

[00:52:32]

And the Cowboys created a dynasty in the 90s and it was like, OK, winning one is is this is before you won even a competition, it was like, OK, what about winning one? It's winning consecutive wins to create a legacy and something that will kind of almost put things into perpetual motion, you know what I mean? And and and that's what the 09 kind of game started for us.

[00:52:59]

And any good stories from over the years, kind of like in the build up to the games are on the picture after picture, you know, which are your Irish teammates. And then kind of that we might not have heard before this. Well, like I said, I get nothing that stands out, like it's really like I was never. I you know, I've been an aggressive player, but I'm not not like. I wouldn't be like cursing out the game and stuff like that, like, I mean, and sometimes to be to trust the bottom of a rock or it's just cringe and the tackle and you'd be like, oh, you know, like I never had any bad stories or interesting stories like that.

[00:53:40]

I mean, in terms of games, like the weirdest thing that ever happened on it on a field wasn't necessarily a monster. Leinster game was actually when, you know, Leo and nether regions were were were stood on. And I go over to him and he's sitting on the ground and in his hand, he's holding one of the crown jewels. Yeah.

[00:54:05]

That was the worst moment on field. I'm kind of going. I think you need a doctor, Leo, do you think? And then he was stitched up and he was all good after that, you know what I mean? So that was the only weirdest moment. Feel like otherwise like I think everyone else knows all the stories and and all the background stories. As you know, what goes on tour stays on tour. Give me your prediction. So who's going to be the weekend?

[00:54:32]

Oh, my heart, my head. They say Landstar and people, Will Cain before I put. I just the way they're the way they are playing. And under the tutelage of of Leo Stewart, Philippe and Robin come in from from Wales, Fogg's Fox. Fox is kicked on to Ireland, I just think. I just think they're attacking style is so unpredictable in a way that. I think people are going to. People are fine, hard to.

[00:55:15]

To figure them out, and I think they're playing their training at such a level that the capacity for work and intensity for work and the way they play puts teams and their massive, massive pressure. So you watch them playing out, right. They'll try and several line by 20 meters out from the sideline and split the field effectively and force you. Through sheer workload and time to decide to get your numbers right now, that's easy, you know, at the start of the game or when you're only defending two or three phases that are going to break and play.

[00:55:51]

But but but they're they're able to play at that speed and velocity and split the field and then go to the other side. The other side that you'll tire out very quickly and quickly if it's your first game and it's the first game of the season, I don't care how much strain you've done after 20 minutes, you're going to blown out your ass, right? Simple as that. And. It would be really interesting to see if Leinster can do that and keep that like they have done in the past and become monsters they stay without.

[00:56:24]

Now, on the flip side, you know. This Goaland a.m., he could be a game changer here, you know what I mean, because I could just free up the ropes for for the early of this world and maybe, you know, maybe we might see Kanamori having a little bit more. You know, he came away a little bit from attacking, you know, attacking you a little bit more himself and maybe you see a little bit more of that now that he's given more time to kind of build himself back up and and, you know, just one player like Dylan that can basically open up space across the back line and and another another ball carrier and player like him.

[00:57:07]

And what's his name? Simon in the park can maybe free up a little bit more. Or Jack O'Donoghue or or C.J. or Dave, to coin a really exciting day was in unbelievable form. Right. And I'm sure he's going to want to have a big game if a church is playing as well. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so there's so much a place to say. Yeah, you've asked me who I want to back down.

[00:57:35]

I'm putting a bet on Lenzer and. Yeah. You know, it's not going to take a lot for a monster to. To to kind of really get momentum in this game. But. But if they let Leinster get ahead and this is the thing with Lance, if you let Leinster get ahead, they're very hard to pull back in. You need to stay on top of them and. And if I didn't get ahead of them and put them under pressure to keep playing that.

[00:58:06]

That that expansive game and and that's where, like I mean, the weather will come into it now, obviously. Where do you see it?

[00:58:14]

To be honest with you, I kind of go along the same zone yourself. I don't see I don't think Monster are quite there yet. I haven't seen I just said we haven't seen how they're going to fit in. If you take them out of the team, it's Lenzer all day. But we don't know that they're the unknown. So could come in. Could they come straight out, straight into the game? You just don't know. They haven't even hit the game.

[00:58:38]

I mean, literally game nothing. So how do you get into a Barcalounger, fit into a park like that? It's going to be tricky.

[00:58:43]

And the other thing that I. If Monster keep playing the way they were playing with the players that they have. I don't think they'll be successful. Yeah, and and and and this thing, we don't know what they've been doing since we've been away. I've just been a long time since anyone played here. So they might have had a look at that they might have adopted and all those sort of things. You've got new players coming in. You know, there's a lot of unknowns on that world and new cultures as well, you know, I find I mean, yeah, Rountree and Larkham came in kind of late last year, so they had didn't really get much of a chance before the break to implement their game plan, implement their their strategy.

[00:59:26]

You know what I mean? Those things take time. Yes.

[00:59:29]

Yes. And there's there's way more potential for change in in Monster. What we don't know than there is in Atlanta. I think that's about and if we're going off certainties, I think it's it's what there. But it's really exciting from an Irish point of view. Yeah. To see what Monster Monster have up their sleeve. Yeah, exactly.

[00:59:54]

Look, Willa, we leave it there for Jamie. Thanks again for coming on this week's show and enjoy it again this weekend. Finnegan comes in, but you have won this ball back through David Wallace, typical work by Wallace on the floor of the HOLSTEAD, Joe Driscoll, the stringer that almost worked there for a moment. Here comes Harry Ramos and Harry Ramos as quick for the. I can tell you the youngster gets it to the old man of the team.

[01:00:20]

Well. Thirty two years of age. It's called the wide and short answer for. That's it for Episode one. Guys, thanks for tuning in. And don't forget to like and subscribe where on Google podcasts, up to podcasts, Spotify and a number of other platforms. Cheers, guys. Biggart, Joe DiMaggio and.