MUNSTER BACK ROW Jack O’Donoghue thinks that young flanker Dan Leavy’s elevation to the Ireland bench against England for the final Six Nations last weekend is a sign that he’s not too far from the reckoning either.

23-year-old O’Donoghue was unfortunate to pick up a knee injury against the Scarlets recently that ruled him out of Munster’s most recent Pro12 game against Cardiff.

O’Donoghue has 55 games for Munster under his belt. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

But the dynamic number eight thinks players like Leavy being relied upon by Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is a good sign for the future.

Ireland are scheduled to tour America and Japan in June and O’Donoghue is eyeing that as his chance to break into the Ireland squad on a regular basis.

“Dan got his first cap at the same time as myself against Canada. He has been playing very well for Leinster leading up to the Six Nations,” said O’Donoghue, who has already made 55 Munster appearances since his debut three seasons ago.

“Joe sees that and that gives you the confidence that if you were to perform for your club, he will give you the opportunities.

“It is a massive summer for the younger lads to have a chance to tour with Ireland due to a Lions tour. I suppose there about 10 or 11 of us who are looking at this summer’s tour as a potential to kick on and it can only benefit us going forward.

“You see the lads get that unbelievable result at the weekend and you think, ‘What can I do to be there next year?’ It gives you the drive and the motivation to be there next year and with a summer tour coming up too, I’m going to try and do my utmost to make that tour.”

But if the Waterford native is to add to his one international cap in the coming months he first needs to cement his spot in the starting Munster back-row. And that’s a difficult prospect now that Rassie Erasmus has a fully-fit crop of back rows to choose from.