Ireland Under-20 star Tommy O’Brien believes the team are peaking at just the right time, following their 27-22 win over France in Donnybrook on Friday night.
O’Brien’s pre-rehersed grubber kick yielded him a try on a night when the young Leinster prospect picked up the Electric Ireland/RTÉ man of the match award.
Ireland came out on top in a tight finish for a third consecutive game, but O’Brien will be hoping he and his team-mates will discover how to close out results a little easier in future.
“It was crazy,” he told RTÉ Sport.
“We have a habit of making it hard for ourselves. That’s three in a row.
“Fair play to the lads for digging in and getting the result in the end, we’re delighted.”
Reflecting on his own try on the night, O’Brien said: “We practiced that during the week.
“We knew where we were at. It just shows training pays off.”
With the business end of the championship approaching, O’Brien feels the team is gaining momentum.
“I feel like we’re building all the time,” he said.
“This week’s probably the first week we’ve started playing some rugby.
“There's something special about this group”
“That first half, I thought we played incredible, but then we let the French back into it.
“There’s definitely a lot more to improve on.”
The team’s reaction to the loss of captain Calvin Nash to injury and Sean Masterson to the sin-bin also gave O’Brien plenty of encouragement for the future.
“There's something special about this group,” he insisted.
“To come from behind in the first two games and get the wins and then to hold out there – we’d 14 men at one stage and we were without our captain. I’m really excited to be part of this group.”
Coach Nigel Carolan echoed those sentiments.
“Hats off to our fellas, it’s a great credit to them,” he said.
“There’s massive character in this team.
“They’re building as a group.
“They’ve confidence, they know they can close out these games when they’re tight.”