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‘What else can Coombes do to get in the Ireland match-day squad?’

May 26th, 2023 9:00 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

‘What else can Coombes do to get in the Ireland match-day squad?’ Image
Munster's Gavin Coombes. (Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland)

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IT’S no surprise to Laura Guest that both Gavin Coombes and John Hodnett are amongst the end-of-season awards.

Rosscarbery powerhouse Hodnett picked up the United Rugby Championship Tackle Machine award, while Skibbereen juggernaut Coombes is the only Munster player to make it onto the URC Elite XV after his impressive campaign.

In his first 11 URC games, Munster back-rower Hodnett made 151 tackles with a 96 percent accuracy, while ahead of the semi-final win against Leinster Coombes had scored a remarkable ten tries in 14 matches.

‘I think John Hodnett is a great player who has a bit of everything; he is playing really good rugby with Munster,’ said former Munster and Ireland star Guest, who started her rugby career with Clonakilty RFC, as did Hodnett.

2013 Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam winner Guest has also been hugely impressed with Coombes who has become a leader for Munster, but is finding it hard to get his chance to impress with Ireland.

‘With Gavin Coombes I don't know what else he can do to get into an Irish squad again because he was in the training squad but not the match-day squad during the Six Nations. That’s the depth of the current Irish set-up,’ Guest explained.

‘I remember seeing Gavin, when he was 14 or 15 years old, playing with Bandon Grammar and coming up against my school (Midleton College). From the first time I saw him I thought he just had something. He is a really good advocate for West Cork rugby – he puts the head down and works hard. He has had setbacks and injuries, but has continued to work hard and he does his talking on the pitch.’

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