From early days tip-toeing to influencing Ireland’s new playing style – Jamison Gibson-Park has come a long way in a short Test period.
On the back of his performance against Japan, the Leinster scrum-half will be rewarded with the game he has been dreaming of against his own All Blacks on Saturday.
Andy Farrell has to make the call on whether to start with Conor Murray, who has had two games off the bench this season for game-time, or the sharp and in-form Gibson-Park.
“It’s probably what I have dreamt of since I came to Ireland so it would be pretty awesome for it to come to fruition,” admitted the 29-year-old, who qualified under the residency rule in July 2020.
“I’m looking forward to a big weekend, anyway.”
All Blacks hooker Dan Coles gave a shout-out to Gibson-Park yesterday following their time together at the Hurricanes, and the Ireland no 9 had previously played for the Blues.
“They’re obviously in their own bubble as well so it probably won’t even be possible to catch up with them,” said Gibson-Park, who could go toe to toe with TJ Perenara, another former Canes colleague.
“It would be awesome man. I only spent three months or something down there so it was pretty brief but we were competing.
“TJ is the ultimate competitor so we were always up against each other in training.
“It’s not like there was any bad blood, it will be cool to come up against him, as well as some other lads. We’ll see how we get on with it anyway.”
Farrell pointed to the growth in Gibson-Park at this level and, after 10 caps, the player himself can feel it.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “When I was first in the environment I would have tip-toed around a bit but I am happy to speak up a bit more now.
“I feel as though I am able to add my 10 cents where it is needed.
“Coming from New Zealand, where I suppose we play the game of movement a lot, we can have some decent insights.
“Hopefully going forward we can continue on this trajectory and get even better.”
Gibson-Park was central to the propulsive attacking game that had Ireland taking the plaudits after hammering the Brave Blossoms.
“I think, from my end anyway, it’s the way the game should be played, in a positive manner,” he explained.
“It’s what the crowd wants to see. Hopefully we can keep at it.
“Obviously there is a lot to work on it and hopefully we’ll be the better for it this week. But for the most part it was a really enjoyable day.
“When you look across the squad, for the most part the boys are well suited to playing this type of rugby so certainly going forward it will be a string to our bow.
“Coming up against better teams we will need to be better, for sure. But I think you saw some glimpses of how good we can be.”
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