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Friday 2 December 2016

Leavy licking his lips at chance to face Tipuric

Justin Tipuric
Justin Tipuric

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt could not fail to be impressed by the form of Dan Leavy this season.

Long held as the next big thing within the claustrophobic confines of Leinster rugby, the former Ireland Under-20 captain could not make his case for inclusion because of a blight of injuries.

The all-purpose back rower, most at home on the openside, has shown his versatility by starting in all three positions over the first three rounds of the PRO12 League.

"Yeah, Dan's been playing some great stuff," said hookwer Sean Cronin.

"He's very athletic, very mobile. He's a powerful guy and he put on a lot of size in the pre-season, so I think that's stood to him in his carrying game.

"He was strong over the ball last year and a couple of times you make a good chop tackle, Dan is right there over the ball, so he's very strong there."

It would seem appropriate for Leinster coach Leo Cullen to hand Leavy the number seven shirt tomorrow so that the 22-year-old can test himself against Wales groundhog Justin Tipuric.

It would be a fascinating sub-plot to the four points on offer to Leinster and the Ospreys.

"You know he has a good all round game and Tipuric is a Lion," added Cronin.

"He has a massive number of caps and is hugely experienced, so if Dan gets the shout and gets to play, it will be an interesting battle to see him come up against an excellent player like Tipuric.

"It's a good measure to judge yourself against."

Then again, coach Cullen has the option of going with last season's breakout forward Josh van def Flier or the equally versatile Jordi Murphy at number seven in a match that demands Leinster's best possible selection.

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