For most the New Year is all about new experiences. But for Jed Holloway his resolution is about applying the lessons from an Irish expedition over the Super Rugby off season.
After taking a call from Stephen Larkin and heading north to ply his trade in Munster, Holloway said his experience was extraordinary.
“It’s a different game, it’s a lot more technical and they play a lot of tight rugby,” Holloway said.
He marvelled at Munster’s use of what they call ‘ten-man rugby’, which exposed him to how defence could be manipulated and a new thinking of how the game can be played.
With Munster focussing on a super technical breakdown of set pieces especially lineouts he was able to take away some new insights. Concentrating more on controlling possession, sides capitalise on dominance through their set piece and kicking strategies.
Holloway said the amount of study that went into the game was something new.
“It just helped me studying, recognising and how to attack a lineout as well.”
Feeling mentally refreshed following his stint overseas, Holloway says he is coming into 2020 grateful to the NSW Waratahs and eager to implement his Munster learnings into the upcoming season.
“There are a lot of moving parts that happen with those types of deals so I’m just really grateful I got that opportunity and they allowed me to do that,” he said.
Coming off a season where he earnt his 50th cap, Holloway says the input of new voices around Daveyville has given him new energy and driving his ambitions for higher honours this season.
New Head Coach, Rob Penney and Forwards Coach, Matt Cockbain will prove apt mentors for the versatile forward.
“I got a lot out of it [Munster], and I think it made me a better footy player. So, hopefully that translates into Super Rugby and it can take me further.”
Having only played five of nine games during his two-month stint, Holloway is feeling good physically and eager for the upcoming Super Rugby season.
What an experience! Thank you @munsterrugby for allowing me to be apart of this great club, it was such an honour to pull on the Munster jersey with so many great men. Thank you to my beautiful fiancé for holding down the fort and allowing me to chase this opportunity. I will never complain about playing in the cold again!! #standupandfight
But with the addition of Charlie Gamble, Carlo Tizzano, Will Harris and Hugh Sinclair to an already booming roster of back row talent including Michael Hooper and Ned Flanigan, he says the competition for spots is super exciting.
“It’s just really exciting coming back, especially being one of the older guys now, if I don’t bring the energy I have I’ll find myself out of the squad. So, I just need to focus on that,”
Heading into Friday’s trial game against the Highlanders, fans will get their first look at how the pack will come together – in the absence of their Wallaby contingent – and how Rob Penney will utilise his versatile back row stocks.
The match kicks off at Leichardt Oval on Friday with gates opening at 5:30pm for kick off at 6:45pm.