Over the last couple of years, Andrew Conway has become an integral player for Munster and Ireland. He filled in the gap left behind when Simon Zebo left for Racing and has kept his spot since Zebo's return. Conway's has become a regular in the Ireland starting lineup and was one of the start performers in Ireland's win over the All Blacks in November.
But Conway had to work to get to where he is now. A Blackrock prodigy, Conway made his debut for Leinster at only 19, one of a handful of players to be given an opportunity such a young age. He would go on to play 42 times before it was announced he would join Munster in 2013.
He soon made Thomond Park his home and developed into an immensely talented try-scorer, earning his first Ireland cap in 2017. Speaking before the final round of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage, Conway credited his coaches and teammates with his development.
I think I've just become a bit more rounded, understanding the game a bit more, endurance, getting coached. Being exposed to Steve Larkham, Johann, Rassie, Andy Farrell, Mike Catt, Joe Schmidt, I could go on. You pick up bits and pieces from everyone and I think that the one thing that stands out is my want to keep growing and keep learning is key and that's made easier by coaches who push you, critique you at times and praise you at times.
It's probably the desire to get better and be lucky enough to be surrounded by great teammates, taking bits off from Keith Earls, Mike Haley and Simon Zebo coming back and being luck enough to have unbelievable coaches who are challenging me to get better.
Conway is reaching his peak now, just turning 30 last summer and his performances have been better than ever this last year. He's earned himself another call-up to the Irish Six Nations squad and will hopefully replicate his displays from November.
But for now, he and his Munster team play Wasps this weekend with a chance to go through the pool stages unbeaten. It hasn't been the prettiest of European campaigns for the Red Army but the result is the only stat that matters and if Munster can keep this knack for winning going they'll go far in the Champions Cup.
Andrew Conway was speaking before the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup final round of pool games this weekend. This year's tournament marks the 27th consecutive season Heineken has been a proud partner of European rugby, and the fifth season of the Heineken and Rugby Players Ireland partnership.