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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cooney and Roux bank on loan deal out West for necessary game time

Former Leinster 'A' captain Conor Gilsenan was loaned out by Leinster to Connacht last season because the Mullingar man was not content to sit and wait his turn.

You could see where he was coming from in behind flankers Sean O'Brien, Shane Jennings, Jordi Murphy, Dominic Ryan, Rhys Ruddock and Kevin McLaughlin.

Anyway, Gilsenan, now 22, was quickly snapped up by London Irish for this season. He put himself in the shop window and was promptly signed out of it.

Now, scrum-half John Cooney has moved away from being fourth choice scrum-half at Leinster to, at least, a shot at game time at Connacht behind Kieron Marmion and Ian Porter.

Second row Quinn Roux has taken the same route in light of the import of Wallaby Kane Douglas and the pre-eminence of Ireland internationals Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy.

The difference is that Roux has the scope within the four corners of his contract to play against Leinster tomorrow whereas Cooney, only recently recovered from injury, cannot.

"It is obviously very difficult to balance the resources of each position," voiced scrum-half Reddan.

Leinster's number ten jersey is currently occupied by Jimmy Gopperth and Ian Madigan with former Ireland U20 fly-halves Cathal Marsh (2012), Steve Crosbie (2013) and the Academy's Ross Byrne (2014) all learning their trade.

While Marsh and Crosbie wait in the queue, England's U20 ten from 2012, George Ford, 21, has played 40 times for Leicester Tigers and 27 times for Bath since his arrival there last season, also wearing two caps for his country.

Interestingly, Ford made the decision to leave Tigers for Bath at a time when Toby Flood, since departed for Toulouse, was the dominant ten at the Tigers.

Then again, his father Mike, the former Ireland defence coach, is in charge at the Recreation Ground.

The 2013 playmaker Henry Slade, 21, has represented Exeter Chiefs on 32 occasions, is firmly established in the side and has been trusted with one England Saxons shirt.

Even the super-skilled U20 World Player of the Year nomineee JJ Hanrahan is losing out by playing second fiddle to Ian Keatley at Munster. That could change this season.

"It would probably help individuals but you would have to balance that with how the provinces feel about it and get the best for the provinces as well as the players," said Reddan.

Heck, Leinster's front row department is even beginning to look crowded with loose-heads Cian Healy, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, hookers Seán Cronin and Richardt Strauss and tight-heads Mike Ross and Martin Moore.

surface

Just beneath the surface Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo has already declared himself "excited" about the next layer of player.

Props Tadhg Furlong and Edward Byrne and hookers Bryan Byrne and James Tracy are making a favourable impression.

There comes a point in many players' careers when they have to stick or twist.

Cooney and Roux chose to follow Gilsenan out on loan, initially, in order that they may come back better for the experience.

Of course, Leinster lose the power over managing Cooney and Roux in the process, while also running the risk of losing them altogether.

This is where the argument brews over the ultimate good of the team against the personal career of the individual.

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