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Ross Molony keeping feet on the ground and focus on physical gains

The young lock put in a man-of-the-match performance in Leinster’s surprisingly straightforward win over Bath.

ROSS MOLONY WAS A fitting recipient of the man-of-the-match award after Leinster’s win over Bath last night.

Even if he hadn’t put in six solid tackles, stolen a line-out and made eight hard carries in the latest of a string of brilliant performances in the second row, Molony one of two of the half dozen men making a full European debut to finish the game – and Garry Ringrose has already had his share of the the limelight.

Replacements came in droves in the minutes after half-time, and in  calling Mike McCarthy ashore after 46 minutes head coach Leo Cullen was giving a clear signal that he wanted the 21-year-old to empty the tank.

Ross Molony Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Leinster list the lock at 103 kilogrammes, so he’s still very lightweight in comparison to second rows he’ll meet at the top level. Even so, the lock manages to punch well outside his division and uses his mobility and ball-handling skill to brilliant effect.

“The gym is a big focus for me this year anyway,” Molony said after leaving a victorious Leinster changing room last night.

Focused on getting bigger and, when these opportunities come around, make sure that I’m taking them and proving myself.”

At 21, Cullen seems to be making an effort to control the speed of Molony’s rise to the top. He could play him more often, but to be durable in one of the most attritional positions in rugby requires a solid base of preparation.

“(I’m) just trying to work with Ross the last number of years,” says Cullen, “adding a few little bits to his game.

“Like a lot of younger players, they need a bit of time to develop physically as well, so it’s important they get a bit of exposure and then time to work on their physiques. We don’t want them just for this season, we want them for 10 years down the line as well.

“It’s important they get tat exposure during the season, but at the same time get a chance to work on physical gains as well.”

Leinster’s Sean Cronin scores a try Sean Cronin celebrates the try that put the game beyond Bath in the RDS. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

After 80 tough minutes in the RDS, Molony will likely be taken out of the firing line for next weekend’s trip to Wasps. It would make sense to give him to time to recover, time to grow and time to gear up for the weeks ahead when Mike McCarthy and Devin Toner will be called bulk up Ireland’s pack.

“This year we really targeted the World Cup period for the young lads to step up –a lot of us made debuts and it’s about pushing on now again (during the Six Nations).

Molony takes his time in assessing how he came to pick up the man-of-the-match gong last night. He is keen to avoid calling the game ‘easy’, but it was remarkable how dominant such a young Leinster pack managed to be considering their Premiership opposition.

We knew we had a tough physical challenge ahead of us. Stuart Hooper really runs the line-out well for them, it was about us getting our detail right. Getting study done early in the week and then focus on fronting up.”

“I knew after we put the work in during the week that if we stuck to our thing and got our detail right, it wouldn’t be easy, but we could get the result we wanted.

“It was definitely important for us, we knew we had nothing to lose going out there.

“There was a big focus on getting our detail right early in the week, looking at Bath, studying line-out and scrums and the young lads really stepped up.”

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Sean Farrell

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