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Frawley still thinking of club roots after delivering on full Leinster debut

The 20-year-old was glad to have Isa Nacewa and Garry Ringrose to help marshal the back-line, but he executed his own job brilliantly.

Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

THE MIDDLE SPLIT of this intriguing three-match race between Leinster and Scarlets went with the formbook, so it’s down to another Saturday head-to-head to alter the standings at the top of Pro14 conference B.

While Scarlets had to wait until a 76th minute Tadhg Beirne try to seal their bonus-point win over Ulster, Leinster had rung up all five points within 22 minutes against the Southern Kings. 

Both predicable outcomes, but with unfamiliar faces in senior ranks.

On the night of his full debut, Ciaran Frawley was a seamless addition to the Leinster attack and showed his pure ball-striking through seven conversions and one majestic cross-field kick for James Lowe.

“It’s just heads-up rugby isn’t it,” the product of Skerries Community College explained post-match, shunning the sweetness of the connection.

“Lowe is in the position I wanted, he was flat for it. Noel Reid was calling it early on, so I went for it and it came off pretty sweetly.”

“This is just a great opportunity for lads, lads like myself in the academy. With the big boys gone to international duty. you get that chance, that opportunity, when you’re called in you have to take it.”

With a try of his own to cap an impressive first senior 80 minutes, Frawley certainly did that.

The 20-year-old’s debut came just six days earlier when he was needed to step from the bench into the centre in the win over Scarlets. More difficult opposition, along with the chance to study Ross Byrne at close quarters, provided perfect preparation to take the reins from the start this weekend, Frawley says.

Having the guiding voice of Isa Nacewa alongside is no harm either.

“Isa’s a great help. Garry (Ringrose) as well, especially in defence. Attack, they’re always chatting but you need a few boys in defence really leading it comms-wise. They lead that part and make everyone more comfortable.

“With fatigue it’s hard to keep the chat up, but the boys outside me are very good at getting the comms into me and making my life a lot easier.”

Having Ross inside me (against Scarlets), learning from him and seeing how he managed the game and I just felt comfortable around the other lads. It was good to learn from the other boys.”

Head coach Leo Cullen is hopeful that Byrne will recover from a hip knock sustained against the champions for the return leg in Parc y Scarlets this Saturday. If he can come through training today and tomorrow, the versatile Frawley may be nudged back out of the spotlight in the short-term. But only after showing his coaches that he is more than capable of stepping in to this team.

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring his sides tenth try with Ciaran Frawley Frawley celebrates with Jordan Larmour, who came off the bench to score one of Leinster's 10 tries. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“Ciaran’s gone well,” said Cullen, ” we managed possession pretty well for that first half. He was pretty composed, trained well with the team all throughout the season and he’s definitely jumped the ladder over a number of other lads who have been in and out.”

After the 64 -7 win, a hamstring injury for Will Connors was the only new injury concern for Cullen. Ringrose came through his return in good shape after 55 minutes and Nacewa was withdrawn 10 minutes earlier with the result more than secure. Thanks in no small part to Frawley on a proud night for Skerries RFC.

“They’re a great club, I played all the way up to U18,  played AIL with them at the start. A great team to be a part of and I’d love to go back one day. It’s on the bucket list, to go back and play for them.”

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Sean Farrell

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