Dan Sheridan/INPHO Osborne scores against Scarlets last weekend.

Leinster's Osborne continues to show why Andy Farrell rates him

The uncapped 22-year-old has had a good start to the season in midfield.

HE HASN’T MADE his international debut yet but Jamie Osborne is already familiar with how things work in Andy Farrell’s Ireland camp.

He was brought in first in the autumn of 2021 when he joined the squad for a week as a development player. He was still only 20 at the time.

In autumn 2022, Osborne played for Ireland A against the All Blacks XV at the RDS. Though it was a tough night for the Irish side, there were glimpses of the Naas man’s ability as he played 80 minutes in the number 13 shirt.

He kicked on by being named in the main Ireland squad for the 2023 Six Nations, impressing Farrell and his senior players with his performances in training at a pre-championship camp in Portugal. 

The elevation had been earned through his strong showings for Leinster, with his first three Champions Cup caps at the turn of the year underlining that Osborne could step up from URC level. He did so with apparent comfort. 

There was no Ireland debut during the Six Nations as Farrell’s men claimed a Grand Slam and then Osborne had an injury setback when a knee issue in March ended his 2022/23 season.

Farrell included the versatile Leinster back in his wider World Cup training squad but again, Osborne was unlucky. A new injury issue in the first week of pre-season last summer left him chasing from even further back than he had been and he never got a chance to force his way into the final 33-man group.

Still, a debut for Ireland looks like it will happen sooner rather than later. Farrell rates him and Osborne, now back fit and firing for Leinster, is clearly still on an upward trajectory.

Osborne, who turned 22 last week, has had an exciting start to the season with his province, starting three games at outside centre before moving to the number 12 shirt for last weekend’s big win over the Scarlets.

The former Naas CBS student has also started games at fullback and on the left wing for Leinster in the past, while he shone in the number 15 shirt for the Ireland U20s back in 2021.

His rounded physical and technical skillset means Osborne is flexible. There were glimpses of what he can do from early on in last weekend’s win at the RDS, with this classy catch-pass under pressure allowing Leinster to break down the left and score.


The pass from Max Deegan is high but Osborne adjusts to reach overhead, catch the ball early, and rapidly get it across his body as his back turns towards the onrushing defender.

Osborne’s handling skills mean he is well suited to the inside centre role with Leinster given that it involves making passes while simultaneously offering a ball-carrying threat.

We see that in the instance below, as Osborne threatens the line but plays a no-look pass out the back to out-half Sam Prendergast.


Osborne obviously has to actually carry the ball at times too and he showed great appetite in that regard last weekend with a team-leading 19 carries.

He finished two tries for Leinster and in both instances, backed himself confidently to score from close-range.


We can see above that there are passing options outside Osborne but he believes he’s best positioned to just do the job himself.

Standing 6ft 4ins tall, weighing close to 100kg, and possessing power and pace, Osborne is a big man and he uses his size to fine effect in the carry.

Having the dual threat of his passing and carrying is key, while Osborne also has a powerful boot when it comes to kicking. He’s a left-footer, which is a big strength given that it means Leinster have greater variety to their kicking options when he’s on the pitch. The power of his kicking means he can fill the James Lowe left-footed role with ease.

We get an example below as Osborne hammers an exit kick deep into the Scarlets’ half.


Osborne blasts the ball all the way down to the Scarlets’ 22 and leaves them with little other option than to kick back out.

They do so, Osborne himself fields the return kick, and then kicks again. His option here is smart and well-measured as he manages to ‘find grass’ and turn the Scarlets again.


Osborne then hounds after his own kick and contributes to a tackle inside the Scarlets’ 22, leaving the Welsh side in a pressurised position.


It’s a great example of the influence Osborne can have with his left boot, as well as his work-rate.

He’s a strong defender too, capable of delivering big moments of physicality in the tackle, while he generally makes good decisions even when there’s lots of traffic in front of him in midfield.

Indeed, Osborne appears to have the potential to be a complete centre as he pushes to develop all aspects of his game.

Whatever about his prospects with Ireland, the 22-year-old will be focused on the battle for starting places in Leinster. 

The highly-experienced Robbie Henshaw and Charlie Ngatai have been ahead of him in the pecking order at 12, while co-captain Garry Ringrose is first choice at 13.

The fact that Osborne can cover so many positions appears to improve his chances of making Leinster’s matchday 23 for the biggest games, but he will be determined to earn a starting spot in the front-line side as soon as possible.

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