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'He's very talented. It's making sure he can take steps to play week in, week out'

21-year-old Leinster out-half Harry Byrne impressed last weekend against Glasgow.

Harry Byrne has been part of two Ireland training camps this year.
Harry Byrne has been part of two Ireland training camps this year.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

WITH HIS BROTHER, Ross, and Johnny Sexton away on Ireland duty, Harry Byrne has been keen to make his mark with Leinster.

The 21-year-old was involved in Ireland camp before the recent clash with Italy, picking up more experience of Andy Farrell’s set-up, but the past two weekends have allowed him to make two valuable starts in Leinster colours.

Byrne, who was also involved with Ireland as a ‘development player’ earlier this year, has looked confident in Leinster’s number 10 shirt and was impressive in Monday night’s Pro14 win away to Glasgow Warriors.

The out-half kicked well off the tee, was largely accurate with kicks out of hand, challenged the opposition defence with his running game, passed well, tackled with intent, and even threw an offload for Jimmy O’Brien’s try.

In short, Byrne underlined his talent once again and suggested that he’s ready to shift his career up a gear after making nine appearances for his province last season.

The Leinster coaching staff are pleased with Byrne’s impact early on in the new campaign, particularly in how he is looked more robust and durable.

“He is a great player, it’s nothing new, everyone can see how talented he is,” says assistant coach Felipe Contepomi.

“Now, from being talented to being a first-choice in any team takes time and there are steps you need to take.

“He has been doing great in his development but the thing that is most pleasing for me is that before Covid, he played 60 minutes against Glasgow and didn’t last the 80. Now, he has already played two games of 80 minutes and it was against the same opposition.

“His robustness, he has worked really hard to put himself in a good position fitness-wise to be able to be picked week in, week out.

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“I’m very glad for him because we all know he’s very talented. It’s making sure he can take those steps to play week in, week out, and then hopefully on bigger stages.”

Meanwhile, Contepomi welcomed the news that tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong is set to step up his training load as he continues his recovery from a calf issue, and a back injury before that.

Furlong hasn’t played any rugby since the restart of the sport in August and while Contepomi said Leinster must continue to be patient, the Wexford man is making progress.

“Time-wise, we don’t know,” said Contepomi. “But he is increasing his training, I think he is on the right track. With all of these things, with his back and so on, you don’t want to put a time [on it] because you don’t know, there could be a setback.

“Fortunately, for the moment, he is hitting all of the steps that the physios and the medical staff are giving him. He is going on track, I would say he will be back sooner rather than later.”

Ryan Baird is in a similar position as he recovers from an adductor strain.

“He is doing well and hopefully he will be back soon playing and training.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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