While Ulster against the Barbarians at Kingspan Stadium is an end of season friendly winger Craig Gilroy is hoping he can do enough to force his way on Ireland’s summer tour.
Gilroy who scored a quick fire hat-trick of tries against Italy in the Six Nations is on a reserve list for Ireland.
“I’m on stand-by as well for the tour so I have to bring my boots and my gum shield wherever I go (on holiday) in case I get the call,” said Gilroy.
“There’s always injuries, there’s definitely going to be injuries, there’ll be injuries with the Lions and they’ll have a knock-on effect on the national team as well so I’ll keep myself ticking over and if the call comes I’ll be ready and if not, I’ll just enjoy a bit of time off and come back here and look forward to hitting the ground running in July for next season.
“Hopefully we can throw the ball about and impress and try to give the fans something and put together some nice tries, hopefully it’s an entertaining game.”
Gilroy was naturally disappointed not to be included in Ireland original squad for the tour of America and Japan.
“I was a bit disappointed but Joe just said to me he knows what I can do and he wants to give some other guys a bit of an opportunity but that I’m still on standby.”
“I just have to take what he said and like I say, keep ticking over.”
The fast open style that the Barbarians play will suit Gilroy’s game.
“Hopefully it’s dry and we can throw it around and have a bit of fun, it’s been a tough season for us in a few ways so hopefully we can finish with some running rugby, maybe give some new guys a chance to put their hand up for next season.”
“The Barbarians are just so unpredictable, they’re going to throw the ball about, we have to expect that, and just keep talking because they could throw whatever at us.”
“Whoever they play I’m sure it’ll be the same Baa-Baas team, Look, I’ve against them a few times now and they like to have a laugh and just throw it about.”
After Ulster failed to make the Pro12 Gilroy has already turned his attention to next season.
“It was a disappointing season with no silverware but I think the guys we brought in did a great job for us, the new signings, and it was obviously good to finish with a win against Leinster.”
“Ultimately we want to see some silverware as players. I think next season might be a bit different with the changes in personnel and coaches so that could maybe be seen as a bit of a fresh start.”
“It was disappointing not to be there. It was still good to watch (playoffs) I thought the Munster-Scarlets game was a good game.”
“I don’t think Munster turned up but I was kind of hoping they’d do it after the season they had and the loss of Axel, they really had something to play for.”
“Despite losing they still had such a good season and been able to bounce back from such a tragedy I think a lot of clubs in the league took their hats off to them.”
As one of the senior players Gilroy wants to take on more responsibility
“I try talk a bit more and lead a bit more, don’t know if anyone is listening to me but I try to help guys like Rob and Trimby who are taking on the joint-captaincy and add a bit extra.”
“My next game for Ulster is actually my 150th cap, I’m sitting on 149 at the minute so I like to think I’m quite experienced.”
Tickets are still available to purchase online at www.ulsterrugby.com/buytickets or on the gate from 6pm.