Leinster's keenly contested victory over Ulster last weekend at the Aviva Stadium saw Jack Conan named as Man of the Match after a superb showing for Leo Cullen's outfit.
It comes amidst a series of impressive performances for the Leinster man and as far as legendary former Ireland number 8 Jamie Heaslip is concerned, he is now the form player for the position in Ireland.
Jack Conan...huge shift. In my opinion the form no 8 in Ireland.
— jamie heaslip (@jamieheaslip) March 30, 2019
On this week's World in Union podcast, a weekly show getting the outside perspective on the game, we caught up with former Connacht man Jake Heenan to discuss life under Pat Lam and John Muldoon at Bristol. The lads also reflected on Heaslip's comments and what it means for Ireland's back-row with a World Cup on the horizon.
Maurice: I think he is now a World Cup certainty or very close to it. The most balanced Ireland looked this year was when he came on at 8 and CJ Stander went across to flanker. I don't know if he is necessarily ahead of Stander in terms of what he brings to the game.
PJ: In saying that, we always hear that CJ Stander needs to evolve his game and add in offloads going forward. There is an argument he takes a lot of people to be put done and occupies a lot of defenders but if he added something else he could gain more metres. On Saturday, Jack Conan gained 67 metres. The third most of any player. The break for the Byrne try is brilliant and he did it while trying to pull up his shorts!
Maurice: I think the thing with Stander is he is being used like a prop, a first up battering ram to punch holes straight up. The yard gain off that is always going to be minimal. One thing I liked about Ulster is using a big one paired with a little one, so Burn takes but pops to Treadwell flying off the shoulder. Maybe Munster can add that.
To hear the full podcast, which includes a discussion with Jake Heenan on Pat Lam's style and how he changed his game to avoid being injured, as well as a debate on Ireland's next backs coach, search Balls.ie on Spotify, iTunes, Pocketcast or any podcast platform.