Masterson puts injuries behind him

It is fair to say Connacht back-row Eoghan Masterson has taken the scenic route to his Heineken Champions Cup debut.

A 20 minute stint off the bench was the first taste of top level European action for the back-row whose career to date has been plagued by a spate of long term injuries.

"I've been at Connacht seven seasons now, close to 80 caps and it was actually my Champions Cup debut at the weekend," he says. " The first year down here in the Champions Cup I was in the academy and wasn't registered to play. Then when we won the Pro12 and qualified for the Champions Cup, I was out with my knee that time. So it's great to be part of these big games now and just to be fit and involved."

Despite his seemingly terrible record on the injury front, the 26-year-old has a surprising perspective on his fortunes.

"People have said to me before "you're so unlucky with injuries, you're always getting injured," but I tell them I think I've only had three serious injuries ever.

"Outside of those injuries I've been lucky. It's just when I get injured they tend to be reasonably long term. But it was pretty sweet to make my Champions Cup debut, when in other years I would perhaps have missed out."

While injuries have certainly hampered the progression of his career so far, Masterson's quality has never been in doubt, and after showing consistently good form during involvements in each of Connacht's seven opening fixtures of the season, it's safe to say he's trending in the right direction.

Masterson will look to make a big impact on Saturday, when Connacht face the daunting prospect of an away battle with Toulouse, and Masterson identifies a number key areas in which Connacht can improve on their performance.

"Toulouse are obviously a great attacking team who play free-flowing rugby, so if we present them with the same opportunities we presented Montpellier we could be in a bit of bother. Defence is definitely one thing we're going to have to tighten up.

"From an attack point of view we may not get as many opportunities as we did at the weekend, so every one we get we're going to have to be really clinical."


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