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Conan not quite ready to challenge Heaslip yet

Of all the places to be at Leinster, the last one you would want is number eight, waiting on the indestructible Jamie Heaslip to lose form or fall to injury.

These things just don't happen.

Former Ireland U20 Jack Conan is not exactly chopped liver when it comes to talent and the potential lurking therein. He has to show perseverance and patience.

"He seems to be gifted in not getting injured," grinned Conan, about Leinster's captain.

"I want to play because I'm the best player to play, not because there are injuries. When the time comes for me and Jamie to be picked, obviously, at this stage, it would be him. But, down the line, we will have to wait and see."


Conan is making serious headway. He has made the giant leap from AIL to Champions Cup this season, the 7-minute appearance against Castres just his sixth cap for the province.

Leinster have gone on a four-game winning streak, two in Europe, two in the PRO12 League.

They should be confident going away to Treviso, who will be without their fair share of Italian internationals.

There is certainly an under-stated confidence about Conan and how he is not intimidated by Heaslip's stature within the game.

He is not afraid to nail his number to the mast as an out-and-out eight.

"It is my favourite position. I feel I play my best there," he said.

"When Matt asks you to play six, or anywhere else, absolutely. At the end of the day, all I want to do is have that blue jersey on and be on the pitch.

"It doesn't really matter where they play me."

It was at his club old Belvedere when Conan first came in contact with Leo Auva'a, since transferred to Treviso, where there was a close working relationship fostered.

"When I was younger, when I first came out of school, Leo was there.

"He was ahead of me. To be fair, he taught me a lot of things."

It is time for Conan to show Auva'a how much.

Verdict: Leinster

Benetton Treviso v Leinster, Stadio Monigo, Sunday (KO 2.30 - Irish time)