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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 9 March 2021
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Osborne caps dream week with first try and hard-earned Leinster contract

The scrum-half will remain with the province for the rest of the season after impressing on trial.

IT HAS BEEN a memorable week for Rowan Osborne, who last night capped a career-changing seven days by scoring his first senior try before Leo Cullen confirmed the young scrum-half has earned a contract with Leinster.

Osborne, who was recommended to Leinster during pre-season by Noel McNamara and Trinity coach Tony Smeeth, made his debut in the victory over Ospreys last week and again came off the bench for Jamison Gibson-Park in the six-try defeat of Edinburgh last night.

rowan-osborne-is-congratulated-by-joe-tomane-after-scoring-a-try Osborne celebrates his try with Joe Tomane. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Shortly after coming on, the Dublin University nine finished off a sweeping Leinster move involving Jimmy O’Brien and James Lowe on the far side as Cullen’s side made it three bonus-point wins from three at the start of the Pro14 campaign.

Having impressed in the All-Ireland League in recent seasons, Osborne’s pre-season opportunity was well deserved and the 22-year-old has taken his chance to earn a first professional contract for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.

“It’s brilliant,” Cullen said. “It’s an amazing story for those slightly later developers who miss out on the academy cycle. What’s the moral of the story? You’ve got to keep plugging away and going well with your club.

“The communication between us and the clubs is good and we’re trying to see as much as we possibly can. We’re always happy when club coaches give us a ring and tell us to have a look at such and such here. It’s a huge part of the game still, especially in the specialist positions.

“There is a little bit of luck and chance involved too but Rowan came in on a short-term trial essentially and it’s extended now. He’s around for the season.”

Osborne was one of six different try scorers for Leinster at the RDS on Friday night as they continued their perfect start to their title defence, with man-of-the-match Gibson-Park, Michael Bent, Caelan Doris, Scott Penny and Michael Milne also crossing.

The home side found themselves behind on the scoreboard and down to 13 men towards the end of the first half, but they responded like champions in the minutes before and after the break to blow Edinburgh away with 28 unanswered points.

It leaves Leinster sitting on top of Conference A alongside the Cheetahs with a maximum 15 points from this initial three-game block, before next week’s break and then the resumption of their campaign against Zebre on 26 October. 

“Edinburgh are a good team so overall we’re pleased,” Cullen continued. “We started the game well but missed some early chances. Just before half-time getting that try and then the period after that, it was good.

leinster-players-celebrate-after-the-game Leinster earned a third bonus-point win on Friday night. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Overall we’re pretty pleased. We get a break next week and then we’re back in for a 13-game block. 

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“It means a lot to the players to play here in front of the home support and I thought the crowd were fantastic tonight. The players respond from what they get from the sidelines so thank you the supporters. There is a lot going on at this time of year but I thought there was a fantastic atmosphere. 

“When the players get out there, they know they need to go out and play well. There is that responsibility and the pressure amongst the group which is pushing guys on. Whenever the World Cup ends for Ireland, we’ll have guys coming back and they’re going to have to fight to get back into the team.”

Reflecting on the wins over Benetton, Ospreys and Edinburgh, Cullen added: “It gets us second in our Conference, which is hard to believe really. The Cheetahs are scoring a lot of tries as well. Overall, we’re pleased and pleased with the level of competition within the group.

“We’re reasonably happy with how the three games have gone so everyone will now take a bit of break next week and come back in for a 13-game block to look forward to.”

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Ryan Bailey

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