McBryde satisfied with Leinster young guns’ progress

James Lowe 'full of himself' as he is set to return to training with the province

From the outside looking in, after a defeat to Cardiff and a win over Edinburgh in which Leinster were stretched significantly at times, it feels like the province's non-internationals are being tested in this Six Nations window more than in previous years.

Of course, there is the mitigating factor that many of these players are short of game time since Covid wiped out a significant chunk of Leinster’s festive URC action.

Two games is certainly a small sample size, but even with results and performances perhaps not being as dominant as before, Robin McBryde is adamant that the goals of these fixtures have never changed.

“These periods have provided opportunities to develop the younger talent coming through and test our strength in depth” says Leinster’s forwards coach after having some time to reflect on Friday’s Edinburgh win. “So that [being tested] shouldn’t come as a surprise to us really.

"I thought there were plenty of good things in the game against Cardiff. You're obviously not happy because we have come away with a loss but there were plenty of good things to build on. Joe McCarthy is one but a number of these youngsters are having an opportunity. Martin Moloney on the weekend [is another].

“He is a very dynamic player on both sides of the ball. His ball carrying and his tackling as well can be pretty ferocious. His lineout game has definitely developed and he is a genuine lineout option. So we just need to see him playing a bit more.

“We had the same conversation regarding Dan Sheehan not too long ago when he was getting his opportunity in these international windows and he has kicked on massively.

“We are building that depth and it is the best opportunity to see these youngsters on a bigger stage. They are putting the hours in on the training field providing the opposition for the first team when all the internationals are back so it’s their opportunity to grasp during this window and hit the same levels. We still do the same drills in training, not a lot has changed, it’s just they have to step up to the mark.

“They need to be in a position to knock on Leo’s [Cullen’s] door if they lose out on selection when the internationals come back and say ‘well listen, this is what I have been doing’. Your performance is your currency.”

One international who is back in the fold is James Lowe. He is back in training after recovering from the muscle injury that ruled him out of the Six Nations squad, though his readiness for Saturday's Ospreys clash has not been determined as of yet.

“He’s due to return to training this week” explains McBryde. “He’s full of himself anyway, he’s never short of a word or two to say! So we’ll have to wait and see.”