FORMER Munster and Ireland star Donncha O’Callaghan wants to nail down a starting berth for Worcester Warriors’ Aviva Premiership campaign.
The 36-year-old lock has moved to Sixways after 268 competitive appearances and 17 seasons with Munster.
Warriors’ director of rugby Dean Ryan says the experienced international has no intention of playing second fiddle for his new club.
“Donncha should make a big difference to where we are as a front five,” said Ryan.
“He wants to compete and play every week. I think he’s here to do that primarily and, at the same time, develop the likes of Darren Barry, Christian Scotland-Williamson and Darren O’Shea.”
O’Callaghan has represented Ireland 94 times and won two Heineken Cups, a Celtic League, two Magners League titles and a Celtic Cup with Munster.
He also won the Six Nations Grand Slam with Ireland in 2009, captained the British and Irish Lions in South Africa and featured in three World Cups.
Ryan is trying to put together a framework at the club, consisting of youth and experience, as Warriors prepare to return to the top flight.
“We have to get the balance right and it’s not all about getting youngsters out there and taking your opportunity with both hands,” he said.
“It’s important we get a framework of experience. I don’t want to stop opportunity.
“I don’t think bringing a guy in who has played at the highest level 94 times for his country and was the highest- capped player at Munster is restricting anyone’s chances.
“He’s here with a pure objective about playing more and passing on experience.
“We have to be realistic and if we just sit with youngsters and have no framework then that’s not going to be a great place to learn. “
Ryan is expected to add at least one new face before the season starts.
South African centre Wynand Olivier is being linked with Worcester.
Ryan says Warriors refused to panic sign after their promotion from the Championship at the end of May.
“We have always been realistic and said if the right people came along we would take them,” said Ryan.
“We haven’t panicked and have done a fantastic job in being able to convince Donncha to come to Worcester.
“I have no issues around his age or anything. I think it’s a great coup for the club and if I was Scotland-Williamson or Barry I would be delighted.
“If we wait we get the right people and I think that’s significantly better than bring - ing in 10 people who are wrong.
“We will continue to do it irrespective of timelines.”