By Simon Hunter
"It's hard to take because I thought I gave everything..."
Ulster Rugby's scrum-half and goalkicker John Cooney has told Q Radio about his disappointment at missing out on Ireland selection for the Six Nations.
The former Leinster and Connacht half-back came to QHQ this week to chat to Simon Hunter, about his admiration for the departed Les Kiss, the hole left by fly-half Christian Lealiifano, why Belfast is ideal when compared to Dublin and Galway, how a new friend made clear they don't like rugby, and a lot more!
It comes ahead of tonight's Pro14 match at home to Southern Kings, in which Johnny McPhillips will make his first start in the number 10 jersey.
The Kings are the only side who are yet to win a match in the competition.
The fly-half will replace the departed Christian Lealiifano.
McPhillips says he learnt a lot from the Australian during his time at Kingspan Stadium.
Meanwhile lock Alan O'Connor will captain for the first time.
Centre Luke Marshall returns to the starting fifteen.
Kick-off is at 7:35pm.
Tomorrow, Joe Schmidt's Ireland are at home to Italy, hoping home advantage can lead them to their second win of this year's 6 Nations.
Jordan Larmour is set to make his debut off the bench.
He's among four changes to the pack.
Ulster's Iain Henderson will be in the second row, with Jacob Stockdale returning in the unchanged backline.
Scrum half Connor Murray says Johnny Sexton's last minute drop goal last week could prove pivotal in the competition.