Friday 19 January 2018

Three best young Leinster blue bloods you can expect to see

Leinster may lean on next generation for leadership

21 April 2015; Leinster's Luke McGrath in action during squad training. UCD, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
21 April 2015; Leinster's Luke McGrath in action during squad training. UCD, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way."

The New York Times best-selling author John Calvin Maxwell, an evangelical Christian, captured, in a streetwise phrase, the very essence of leadership.

It has been said by insiders and outsiders Leinster lack the leadership from the tier of players below the elite Ireland internationals to carry the club through adversity.

The newly rebooted PRO12 League is based on the meritocracy that comes from qualification for the semi-final play-offs and The Champions Cup.

This meant all the clubs had something valuable to work towards all season long and all but two of the twelve were open to some level of achievement going into the three last rounds.

In 2010, Rhys Ruddock, apparently a natural leader of men, was assigned the responsibility of Ireland U20 captain going to the World Cup in Argentina.

Before the tournament had concluded, Ruddock had made his full senior debut against Australia.

In the subsequent years, Ulster hooker Niall Annett (2011) and Munster hooker Niall Scannell earned the roles.

Since then, Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath (2012), flanker Dan Leavy (2013) and another scrum-half Nick McCarthy have been ordained as Ireland's best leaders at their Age Grade.


He has had to be patient in behind Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss, two grizzled old veterans who know the game.

The former St Michael's sniper is made in the mould of a Danny Care-type of low-to-the-ground sharp breaking half-back, who relies on instinct.

The 22 year-old has polished his passing skills and is ready to take the next step in his development.

The most interesting fact is his return of four tries from 360 minutes played.


In a position where Shane Jennings will leave a lasting legacy, Leavy starts out as a natural openside.

The 20 year-old's main problem has been the horror of injury that prevented his participation in the 2013 U20 World Cup.

Leavy has the power, pace, strength, instinct and footballing intelligence to make an impact for Leinster in the Autumn.


So far, there have been three caps totaled in the PRO12 League this season for an unremarkable return of 43 minutes.


The current Ireland U20 captain will have little more than the World Cup in Italy on his to do list.

He has been married to his old St Michael's sidekick Ross Byrne for years at school and up along the grades.

While Byrne has been billed as a natural successor to Jonathan Sexton, it was McCarthy who was chosen as Ireland captain in a 'players' ballot' earlier this year.

He is a service provider, in the purest sense, one who takes the responsibility to get the ball into the hands of his out-half as quickly as possible.

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