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There are Scannells everywhere in the University of Limerick. Rory discharges his media duties in one room, Niall waits patiently in the corridor while there is no sign of the youngest of the three brothers who wear the red of Munster , Billy, a member of the academy and the Ireland Under squad that won the Six Nations Championship Grand Slam. The Saracens match is front and centre in his thoughts.
Experience has taught him to channel his energy maturely in trying to ensure that everything he does on and off the pitch is devoted to becoming a better player. The gung ho enthusiasm of three or four years ago has been moderated. Injury and disappointment have shaped his perspective. He captained Pres Cork to Munster Schools Senior Cup success, the Ireland Under team in the World Junior Championship in South Africa , made his Munster debut in the season, progressing each year to play a more central role in the first team and then in February was rewarded with the first of 14 Ireland caps when starting in the absence of the injured Best against Italy.
So he missed out on the November internationals and the Grand Slam. He muscled his way into the starting team for the second and third Tests, winning a further five caps between the November Tests and the recent Six Nations as he clambered past Sean Cronin in the pecking order.
I think I am a better player. All players get injuries in their careers and I was lucky. I played two years before that pretty much every game without any injury problems.
There is no bitterness but there were times especially around the third or fourth injury where you are wondering why this keeps happening. If I am ever on it again in my career, I will be able to see the light a bit better. Since then they have endured a run of six successive defeats at the penultimate stage of the tournament — context is required in pointing out that four of those games took place in France — including a loss to the English club at the Aviva Stadium two years ago.