'Sometimes it's not nice watching lads play unbelievable' - Andrew Conway on returning from injury
The Munster wing says that it can be difficult at times for players to settle back in after injury19:00 Wednesday 23 November 2016, 19:00 23 Nov 2016
As is the competitive nature of professional sport, competition for places can be ferocious and even at peak fitness and conditioning, players are often overlooked.
With any number of players jostling for their spot in the first team, performing well in training most of the time is not enough.
What makes breaking into the first team even more difficult is dealing with injury. Weeks on the sideline can lower fitness levels, leave you out of the immediate thoughts of management and coaches and players lose any momentum that they had in recent weeks.
Munster's Andrew Conway knows all about that, having sat out games throughout the year with concussion and a bruised hip earlier in January.
"If you're not in the team you know that next time you get an opportunity you have to play well to be in with a shout of selection," he explained. "People aren't letting go of the jersey and they're doing it justice. It's brilliant.
"Obviously I was injured for a few weeks, so it's not the nicest thing in the world watching lads play unbelievable. But you do know it's going to make you level up. It helps your game."
Andrew Conway discusses life on the sideline ahead of Munster's clash with Treviso this weekend. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
The return can be tough depending on the length of time spent on the sidelines and Conway says that being unable to help the situation can be frustrating.
"I had a few injuries, so there's not much you can do if you're sitting on the sideline. If you're injured, you're injured. That's just part of the game. It's not that nice watching the team and I know guys who have long term injuries so it's tough, especially - and I know it sounds a bit strange - whenever we're going really well, it's great for the lads that are in the 23 but tough for the lads who aren't.
"They want to be involved in a successful team but their bodies aren't allowing them to do that. You really have to enjoy it when you're in [the squad], because one injury can cost you selection.
"Going into big games, you're on the sidelines. I think a massive part of it is enjoying in there."
Ahead of their clash with Treviso this weekend in the Pro12, Conway admits that while they are not delighted with their game as a whole, much of what they have been working on is coming off on the pitch.
"There's been stuff over that we've done over the pre-season that we've seen rewards from. There's things aerially and a few things defensively that we've gotten better at. But, there's still plenty to go and plenty of holes that we want to fill."
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