Double helping of Scarlets makes Leinster look at the big picture

first_img Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO“The international players are going to come back eventually. And it’s just about giving the coaches that tough decision where you’ve performed over that block and you’re not just going to hand that jersey back over easily.”Obviously, the team-sheets bear little resemblance to Scarlets’ enthralling 14-man semi-final win over Leinster last May. Yet as one of three surviving Leinster starters, Molony admits there is a scent of vengeance about the fixture.A lot of the players in our review this morning (Monday) probably wouldn’t have played in that game, they don’t have the experience of that. But for us it’s about driving that message that this is about us getting revenge, it’s about us not allowing a team to come to the RDS and beat us, and it’s a great opportunity for everyone.”The opportunity goes two ways of course, and having set the pace all season Scarlets will be loathe to be cut adrift.10 starting Welsh internationals is a difficult hurdle to get over, but the man falling between the stools of national selection policy, Tadhg Beirne is fit and raring to go again against his native province before a summer move to Munster.The Kildare man’s rise to prominence comes as no surprise to Molony, who can recall his eye being drawn by a fellow powerful lock as a schoolboy. Molony stood in the stands clad in light blue, Beirne was on the field for Clongowes Wood as they defeated St Michael’s in the 2010 Senior Cup final.Their paths certainly crossed in Leinster too. Molony’s promise, along with the imminent arrival of Ian Nagle, were among the reasons Beirne was deemed surplus to requirements and was instead set on a path to glory through west Wales.From delivering pizzas to delivering medals: Tadhg Beirne’s momentum has been hard-won“He’s been brilliant, he has really had a couple of great seasons over there. He was on 20 turnovers before the Benetton game, and I saw him get at least three, so he’s really putting a marker down and like last year I’m sure he’s looking to come over and make his mark at the RDS. 10 Comments Feb 17th 2018, 7:00 AM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Double helping of Scarlets makes Leinster look at the big picture The usual ‘one game at a time’ mantra was shelved briefly this week as the Pro14 approaches a pivotal few weeks. Short URL 15,945 Views THAT OLD RELIABLE fall-back credo, one game at a time, was put aside briefly by Leinster this week as senior coach Stuart Lancaster showed his players the Pro14 standings and fixture schedule for the weeks ahead.There’s no getting away from it, there is a pivotal point of the campaign in sight. James Lowe in training this week. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHOThe next three weekends present enormous opportunity for one of the Pro14 B Conference leaders to assert their dominance and build a buffer.Reigning champions Scarlets come to Dublin for a summit meeting this afternoon (KO 3.15pm, Sky Sports) and the sides need only wait another fortnight before clashing again in the return fixture in Llanelli.Set for down weeks in the Six Nations, these head-to-heads will be a test of depth given both sides are heavy suppliers to their respective national teams.Even so, Leinster must fancy their resources to power them out of last weekend’s late loss in Edinburgh and Leo Cullen’s stocks have been boosted by the return of Sean Cronin, Jordan Larmour and Jordi Murphy from international camp.And while Joey Carbery is the most surprising absentee to be held back from Pro14 duty by Joe Schmidt, with the Southern Kings to come in between Scarlets clashes (while Wayne Pivac’s men host Ulster) this four-game window could yet provide a very valuable return.“The two games against Scarlets will have a huge bearing on who comes top of the Conference,” Lancaster said in the Intercontinental Hotel on Monday.“Our run-in: we’ve got Ospreys, into the quarter-final (v Saracens) and beyond them Zebre and Treviso at home. So we’ve got tough games to come but equally these games against Scarlets back-to-back are going to be very important.” Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHOFixtures of this pedigree would be far more tantalising if they were scheduled at a safe distance from international windows of course. But these off-Broadway Pro14 rounds regularly toss up intriguing story-lines and breakthrough performances.During this point of the season last year, Leinster coasted through their four-game run while averaging 44.5 points per game. Carbery shone after switching to fullback during the run, and Cullen has preferred him in that position ever since. Adam and Ross Byrne linked brilliantly on cross-field kicks, now the wing has a Test cap and the out-half is almost an ever-present for his province.“It’s for the players who may not have got a look in earlier in the season to put their hand up,” says second row Ross Molony, who will complement the veteran talents of Scott Fardy in the engine room tomorrow. Saturday 17 Feb 2018, 7:00 AM By Sean Farrell Share3 Tweet Email “He’s able to get over (the ball), get a low body height, which is obviously really impressive.“He’s obviously been put into a pretty powerful back row there as well with (James) Davies, who is also brilliant over the ball, but probably over the weekend that’s somewhere we’re looking to target.“We have to beat them at the breakdown, they probably got the upper hand on us there when we played them in previous games so that’s going to be a real focus for us this week.”Leinster:15. Jordan Larmour14. Adam Byrne13. Rory O’Loughlin12. Noel Reid11. James Lowe10. Ross Byrne9. Luke McGrath (captain)1. Ed Byrne2. Sean Cronin3. Michael Bent4. Ross Molony5. Scott Fardy6. Josh Murphy7. Jordi Murphy8. Max DeeganReplacements:16. Richardt Strauss17. Peter Dooley18. Oisín Heffernan19. Ian Nagle20. Will Connors21. Nick McCarthy22. Ciarán Frawley23. Barry DalyScarlets:15. Johnny McNicholl14. Tom Prydie13. Paul Asquith12. Steff Hughes (captain)11. Ioan Nicholas10. Dan Jones9. Jonathan Evans1. Dylan Evans2. Ryan Elias3. Werner Kruger4. Steve Cummins5. David Bulbring6. Tadhg Beirne7. James Davies8. Josh MacleodReplacements:16. Emyr Phillips17. Phil Price18. Simon Gardiner19. Lewis Rawlins20. Will Boyde21. Declan Smith22. Corey Baldwin23. Tom WilliamsCullen backs Ringrose to slot back in for Wales as centre returns to full training‘I capsized twice in six hours… all I knew was my head got smashed against the side of the cabin’‘Every game is a chance to put a marker down, a step closer to that jersey’: Deegan delivering on 2014 promiselast_img