Former Leinster player Brendan Macken was on Friday’s OTB AM and spoke about playing with Andrew Conway while they were in school.
The two played with each other while they were students in Blackrock College and Macken was always well aware of Conway’s talent.
“I remember when his parents would give him 200 quid to go buy a pair of boots.
“He’d go down to Dunnes Stores or Penneys and buy a pair for eight or nine quid that probably weighed about 20 kilos and pocket the rest.
“He’d be running around fellas with these 20 kilos wooden canoes on his feet. I think that’s when people knew this guy’s going to be pretty special,” Macken said.
The centre, who currently plays for London Irish, feels that the Munster winger has improved as time has gone on.
“I first started playing with him when we were seven or eight years old, the whole way up through Blackrock and then into Leinster and he’s really evolved his game.
“I think everyone knew he could beat anyone one-on-one,” Macken said.
Ireland’s back three
With Keith Earls and Rob Kearney struggling with injuries Joe Schmidt has opted to go with Jacob Stockdale, Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour as his back three.
While the trio don’t have a huge amount of experience between them, Macken is confident that they will deliver on the big stage.
“I think it’s great. [Larmour], Stockdale and Conway, it’s unbelievably exciting. I think the Scots are going to have their work cut out from a defensive point of view. Hopefully, it goes really well for them.
“I think Andrew Conway, even though he wouldn’t have as many caps and wouldn’t be experienced he’s almost like an old head really. In that back three I think he’ll really organise things nicely,” Macken said.
The London Irish man was delighted to see his former teammate Conway get a chance to start in such a big game for his country.
“I don’t know Jordan Larmour personally but I know Andrew Conway personally and I think it’s a challenge that he’ll absolutely relish.
“He’s been knocking on the door for the last while so from a mental point of view he’s definitely prepared himself for this opportunity,” Macken commented.
Schmidt’s side take on Scotland at 8.45am Irish time in Yokohama as Ireland look to get their World Cup campaign off to a winning start.