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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 10 April 2021
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Leinster's playmaking duo of Byrne and Frawley continue to impress

The Leinster pair’s latest showing was up for discussion on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

Frawley and Byrne have been in fine form for Leinster this season.
Frawley and Byrne have been in fine form for Leinster this season.

AS LEINSTER POWERED to another bonus-point win over the weekend, there were lots of positives to note, with the latest performances from the playmaking pair of Harry Byrne and Ciarán Frawley among them.

21-year-old Byrne and 23-year-old Frawley, who has played lots of his rugby at out-half, have regularly linked up in the number 10 and 12 shirts for Leinster this season, with their passing ability giving the province’s attack an extra dimension.

Speaking on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday – Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella discussed their impact for Leinster in a 52-25 win over Scarlets on Saturday.

Eoin: “Harry Byrne, everything he did generally came off for him. He looks like he has time on the ball and he really grew into the game. 

“I was really impressed with Frawley. His passing skills are exceptionally good. You can have good passing 12s but I think Frawley is in the playmaking mould of a 12 that understands timing, alignment, and how to manipulate defenders in staying square to the line.

“He almost reminds me of Henry Slade for England in terms of how square he can stay to the line and I’d really like to see more of him. Generally, everything good that was going in Leinster’s attack was coming through either Byrne or Frawley.”

Murray: “Very often, it was the pair of them combining on those blocker players where Frawley goes to first receiver and, as you say, the timing and alignment of himself to the defence is just beautiful.

“It’s really hard to read early because he’s not giving you early cues and then Byrne seems really comfortable with making late decisions, putting himself under a bit of pressure and flinging some passes where your heart is almost in your mouth and you’re thinking there is potentially an intercept on.

“He really backs himself to get the power and the timing on his pass. The pair of them together – it’s a model we have talked about loads on this podcast – but they do seem to be working particularly well together this season – would you imagine they have a future at international level?”

harry-byrne Harry Byrne has trained with Ireland several times. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Eoin: “It’s a big call to make this early in their careers, but all their core skills and fundamentals and their ability to identify and attack space are definitely promising.

“Obviously, we’re looking at them at Pro14 level whilst the Six Nations contingent is in their bubble, so it’s hard to make a case on whether they’re going to be top-quality international players but from the early signs, their skills look really good.

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“I thought even when Jamie Osborne came on, he looks like he has a really strong skillset as well. There was a left-hand scrum and it was a four-pass sequence from Leinster – if people are interested in passing skills, they should watch that scrum play.

“Byrne throws the miss pass to Osborne, Frawley goes on the loop and gets the ball off Osborne and they go out the back of Max O’Reilly to Dave Kearney. If you watch all four passes, no one has to adjust their hand position. Everything is on the money, the timing is perfect, and that’s really promising signs of the skill development that’s going on in Leinster.”

Murray: “They defend well as well, we should say that with Byrne and Frawley. Frawley is obviously a big enough guy and Byrne defended really well in this game, in particular – he is very game and makes good decisions.

“Off the tee, he was excellent and his restarts were excellent – he was getting great hang time. He had a couple of nice attacking kicks and also darted at the line himself. I know he got choke-tackled at one stage and was frustrated, but he’s happy to offer a running threat and looks quite rounded.

“It’s exciting to see that development continue.”

Today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also involved the lads discussing how Munster pulled off their dramatic win over Benetton as JJ Hanrahan slotted the winning drop-goal.

Eoin and Murray also turned their attention to the 2021 Six Nations and asked what Ireland need to do to win the thing. As always, they answered questions from The42 members WhatsApp group.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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