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Dublin: 5°C Friday 14 May 2021

'He’s that second pair of hands' - Ciarán Frawley shines at 12 for Leinster

The 22-year-old Skerries man was excellent in Leinster’s victory over Ulster.

FOR HIS FIRST senior start at inside centre, this was mightily impressive from Ciarán Frawley.

The 22-year-old is among Leinster’s strong options at out-half and has also started at fullback for the province before, but this maiden outing in the number 12 shirt suggests the Skerries man might just have a future in midfield.

With Conor O’Brien sidelined for the coming months after hamstring surgery, there may be further opportunities for Frawley in midfield in the 2020/21 season and he certainly appeared to enjoy the opportunity in this evening’s 28-10 victory over Ulster.

ciaran-frawley-presents-ed-byrne-with-the-guinness-pro14-player-of-the-match-award Frawley gets his man-of-the-match award from Leinster captain Ed Byrne. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Having dual playmakers on the pitch is an obvious trend in the game at the moment so Frawley makes sense at 12, bringing decision-making and distributing skills. He is not a small man at 6ft 3ins and well over 90kg, so has the physical attributes too.

It’s obviously very early in Frawley’s time as an inside centre but it was a promising start. His grubber kick before Ed Byrne’s opening try was excellent, there were some excellent tackles in midfield, and even a jackal turnover penalty.

Leinster boss Leo Cullen was very pleased with Frawley’s contribution.

“There was a great little kick at the start which obviously leads to the first try but I thought he was good and physical as well,” said Cullen post-match.

“Stuart McCloskey is one of the biggest backs out there. He’s a big, big man so I thought, overall, we dealt with him well. He’s going to get the odd moment in the game for sure but I thought Ciarán fronted up well.

“He’s that second pair of hands as well which you’re seeing more and more in the game and how important that is, it takes a bit of pressure off whoever is playing at 10. He’s a good kicking threat as well. 

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“It’s pleasing. We’ve looked at Ciarán quite a bit at 12 over the course of pre-season. You see the way the game is evolving. He got a great poach over the ball as well, I thought he fronted up really well.”

ciaran-frawley-is-tackled-stuart-mccloskey-and-james-hume Frawley was an influential figure for Leinster. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

As for Frawley himself, he enjoyed the outing in midfield and was appreciative of having had those pre-season training minutes in the position.

“It was very good,” said Frawley. “I’ve been training a lot at 12 throughout our pre-season, building that cohesion with the players around me like Ross [Byrne], Harry [Byrne], I did a bit with Sexto [Johnny Sexton] as well.

“It’s nice to be getting that telepathy with them and not just trying to get it in the week of the game. It’s really enjoyable at the moment.

“Unfortunately with Conor O’Brien, he did his hamstring, we’re fairly skinny at 12 at the moment, so it’s a good opportunity to get minutes under my belt.

“It’s different with every 10 you play with. That cohesion is important, sometimes 10s play flat, sometimes 10s play deep and you have to judge your depth off them. It’s been great to get that understanding off the 10s in pre-season.

“You do have a lot more time [on the ball] but it’s definitely more physically demanding.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from the Aviva Stadium

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