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'I think he'll go to New Zealand and should get capped in one of the three Tests'

Leinster’s Ross Molony was brilliant in last weekend’s semi-final win over Toulouse.

Ross Molony was brilliant for Leinster last weekend.
Ross Molony was brilliant for Leinster last weekend.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

LEINSTER CAPTAIN JOHNNY Sexton was named player of the match in their dominant Champions Cup semi-final win over Toulouse but that award could very easily have gone to Ross Molony.

The second row was brilliant for Leo Cullen’s side, as discussed on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra podcast for members of The42.

Gavan Casey was joined by Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella on today’s podcast and the lads broke down the scintillating Leinster performance, as well as fielding a query about 28-year-old Molony, how hasn’t yet been capped by Ireland.

Gavan: “Here’s a question from one of our members, Robin Cafolla, about Ross Molony: ‘Given his ability to distribute in contact, which looks as good as Furlong’s and Doris’, should Molony be included in the touring side for NZ?’”

Murray: “I was talking about this quite a bit after the match, everyone was discussing it. I thought he was the outstanding player and should have been player of the match because he offered so much.

“He is playing big in contact, bigger than he did before. He slotted into that distribution role really well, we mentioned some of his passes earlier, and on top of that, he was running the lineout and calling it. He is basically the pack leader, involved in a lot of the decision-making, and he’s a big influence that way. He has embraced that side of the game.

“He has been in Ireland camp recently. If I’m being honest, along the way in his career, I maybe wouldn’t have seen him as that Test-tier player but the scale of his improvement over the last year or two in particular has absolutely put him in that bracket.

“The only thing for Ireland to consider is they’ve got younger locks coming through now. The established locks are there: Beirne, Henderson, Ryan. Treadwell has been in the mix since Ultan Dillane left the party, but now they have the likes of Joe McCarthy and Thomas Ahern who clearly at that earlier age have the potential to be quite impactful Test players.

“If it was me, I would probably be leaning towards someone like that. If you’re indecisive about that last lock spot in your squad, I think bringing someone like Joe McCarthy potentially has more upside.

ross-molony-arrives Molony has been in Ireland camp a few times already. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“Not that Ross Molony is an old man, not that I don’t think he could step up to that level; it would be absolutely deserved. We’ve spoken so many times on this pod about his influence for Leinster, his consistency, and the fact that he has massively improved in areas like the collision, where you think maybe guys have a limit. But there he was bossing big, renowned Toulouse ball-carriers.

“He has put himself in the mix for Ireland but I would understand it if they didn’t include him.”

Gavan: “I’d be a little bit surprised if they didn’t include him at this stage, Berch, just because of how much of Ireland’s game is predicated on Leinster’s inherent cohesion and how influential he is in that Leinster machine. It feels like a straight swap if you slot him in there and that he would improve Ireland even if there are younger guys coming through who may have more potential than even he does.”

Bernard: “Yeah, I think he’ll go to New Zealand. I’m not sure if he will get capped but he’ll play in the two midweek games if he does go.

“He has got better so it wouldn’t be a token cap by any means. That was a really good barometre of whether you’re suited to Test rugby last weekend and he nailed it. 

“Speaking to Leo, he said he’s the glue basically. He’s the best lineout caller in Leinster, he’s highly involved in lineout strategy every week even if he’s not playing. That’s his USP and we saw he has very good hands and is suited to that attacking system, which is nearly like-for-like with what Ireland are doing.

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“He would have a role to play in that and his collision work has improved massively on both sides of the ball.

“He will be pushing it but I still wouldn’t like to see Joe McCarthy not going because of Ross as well. You need to have one eye on the World Cup and bring him as well, get him that opportunity to fast-track his development.

“I think he will go on the tour and should get capped in one of the three Tests this summer.”

Check out today’s podcast for members of The42 to hear all of the lads’ analysis on Leinster’s win, as well as their views on La Rochelle’s victory over Racing in the other semi-final.

Gavan, Bernard, and Murray also looked forward to another big weekend in the URC.

To get access to The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, which comes out every Monday with Gavan Casey, Bernard Jackman, and Murray Kinsella, as well as every Wednesday with Eoin Toolan, become a member of The42 at members.the42.ie.

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