Sean received the most December votes from Leinster supporters who referenced his inspirational form against Scarlets at the beginning of the month, his try making performance in the ‘Fever in the Aviva’ against French side Clermont and the interprovincial derby with Ulster when he scored two tries, his first efforts in the Magners League this season.
Commenting on his award, Sean reflected on the month’s games and on own his development in the Leinster Academy before turning his attention to Saturday’s game against Saracens.
Sean O’Brien said: “It’s always nice to get this kind of award and to be recognised by the supporters is an honour and I’m absolutely delighted.
“I remember the Scarlets game because we didn’t play that well, but we stuck in there and got the draw in the end. I suppose we were pleased that we didn’t lose the game, but we let ourselves down a little bit that day but we made up for it in the weeks to come.
“We then went to play Clermont away and I still think that we could have won that game. We did well to get a point out of it because the crowd really gets in behind them and they’re a tough side. Looking back we were pleased to get the bonus point because it’s not easy to get anything from away games in the Heineken Cup, so we were happy.
“In the Aviva Stadium game a week later we knew exactly what we had to do and we really fronted up, took the game to them and put in a good performance. There were a lot of supporters there and we owed it to them as well.
“The Ulster game was a massive one for us (in the context of) getting us up the Magners League table and, like I said before about Clermont, it’s not an easy place to go and win up in Belfast. Conditions weren’t good and the crowd are very noisy, but again we stuck to our game-plan; we didn’t panic… did the simple stuff and thankfully came out on the right side of it.
“The Academy really helped me, both physically and mentally, and it gave me a great insight into what the demands are to become a professional rugby player. The lads that have come through there recently like Dominic (Ryan) and Rhys (Ruddock) are on our heels now and it’s good to have that competition in the squad.
“The likes of Eoin O’Malley and Fergus (McFadden) have been there for a while. Eoin was unlucky with injury for a time, while Fergus has been playing consistently for a while and taking any chances he has got. They’re all good lads, they all know what Leinster is about and they really want to win.
“I think that this week we’re going to have to be very mentally strong. They’re going to come over here and try to beat us up, so we’re going to have to have our minds right and stick to the game-plan. It’s not a game to try anything fancy, we just have to try and win. You can’t have too many errors against these lads or else they’ll punish you.”
Voting is open for the January Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Player of the Month. To nominate a player from any or all of the games this month simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org telling us which player you want to vote for and why. Everyone who nominates a player is in with a chance to win a gift voucher.