2023 Dragons vs Leinster

From World Cup Heartbreak To Leinster Triumph In BKT URC Leadership Debut

From World Cup Heartbreak To Leinster Triumph In BKT URC Leadership Debut

Dan Sheehan is on a redemption journey from heartbreak at the 2023 Rugby World Cup to triumph in his BKT URC leadership debut.

Nov 14, 2023 by Philip Bendon
From World Cup Heartbreak To Leinster Triumph In BKT URC Leadership Debut

Ireland and Leinster star Dan Sheehan has revealed that a return to club action in the BKT URC  has been the best remedy for the "massive disappointment" of Ireland's World Cup exit. 

In his comeback match against Dragons RFC, Sheehan showcased his resilience on the field and assumed the captaincy for the first time, leading Leinster to a commanding 33-10 victory. 

Reflecting on Ireland's quarterfinal loss to New Zealand in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Sheehan expressed the emotional toll of the loss, especially as it marked the departure of some teammates. 

He stated, "That’s hard to deal with, and then all of a sudden you are broken up. You’ve spent the last five months with these lads, and then you are leaving camp, and you are on to the next thing." 

However, Sheehan emphasized that refocusing on the Leinster squad provided a therapeutic outlet. 

"The best thing for me was getting back into the Leinster squad and just focusing on that," he said. "It was a case of getting back on the bike, as they say."

Having enjoyed a few weeks off to detach from rugby, Sheehan's eagerness to return to the game intensified. He spoke about the anticipation of rejoining the Leinster squad, saying, "I was texting Leo (Cullen), and I was just sitting at home waiting to come back in. It’s good to be back with the lads you haven’t seen in a long time."

Debuting as the team captain marked a significant personal milestone for Sheehan. He acknowledged the growth in his confidence over the years, stating, "My confidence has grown over the last few years, and it’s about time I step up and take more of a leadership role within the squad, so I’m delighted." 

Sharing his thoughts on the leadership dynamic within the team, Sheehan emphasized the collective responsibility. 

"We talk about everyone having a role in the leadership, so it’s easy for me to be able to come in and lead these lads," he added.

Sheehan's impact on the field was evident as he initiated Leinster's dominance over Dragons RFC with a lineout drive that resulted in a try. 

The 25-year-old hooker admitted to nerves but expressed his excitement for the remainder of the season, saying, "It was good to get back out there, and I am excited to kick on for the rest of the season." 

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen praised Sheehan's journey, highlighting his development from an unassuming player to a key figure in the team. 

"He’s a great story, Dan," Cullen stated. "He’s physically very imposing, and nothing really fazes him. He’s been excellent." 

Regarding the decision to appoint Sheehan as captain, Cullen emphasized the importance of shared leadership, stating, "Rugby is the ultimate team game, and the more leaders you have across the team, the better." 

Sheehan's resurgence on the BKT URC stage not only signifies personal growth, it also adds a new chapter to Leinster's pursuit of success.