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Wednesday 22 February 2017

Leinster's 'frustrated' international admits he might leave but no IRFU approach to switch province

Published 23/03/2016 | 15:33

The role of the IRFU's high priest is officially Performance Director but there are aspects of David Nucifora's remit that are still a bit of a mystery.

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We know one of his tasks is to maximise the performance of the national team by ensuring that talent is distributed around the provinces, so the IRFU isn't in the position of having multiple internationals stagnating due to a lack of game time when they could be getting regular rugby elsewhere.

Obviously, Nucifora cannot force players to move province if they call a certain part of the country home, but there are surely discussions that need to be had with certain players regardless of their provincial allegiance.

Rodney Ah You was moved from Connacht to Ulster in a smart switch of playing resources while someone like Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan seems like another prime example of a player who would benefit in a less crowded environment.

Ryan, who won an Ireland cap against Georgia in 2014, is competing against six other internationals for game time in the back row, and has aired his frustrations on the record in the past.

You would have thought that the IRFU or Nucifora would regularly be in contact with him with regards to exploring other provincial options.

Surprisingly, this is not the case.

"No, nobody has come to speak to me about it," Ryan said when asked whether the IRFU had discussed a transfer.

"If someone comes to speak to me about it and talks options then yes, but nobody has come and spoke to me about it.

"Can people come and approach me? Of course they can and maybe I can approach them but at the moment I'm just focused on playing with Leinster."

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It is not as if Ryan is entrenched in staying at Leinster. The former Gonzaga pupil makes it clear he is committed to playing his best for the duration of his contract - due to end in 2017 - but was also honest in saying he has considered moving club in pursuit of playing time.

"Oh I have, yes, I have," Ryan responded when asked if he had reached a level of frustration due to a lack of game time that would cause him to look elsewhere.

"You talk to the coaches about it [his frustration], keep it to yourself, talk to fellow players about it.  Maybe you're not playing because you are not good enough. Sometimes it is down to yourself, am I playing well enough to get picked? Sometimes you might be to blame yourself."

Ryan also said that while his form at the beginning of the year was 'absolutely not' good enough, he feels he has been back to his best in 2016. Even so, with the influx of internationals back into Leinster this week, he is unlikely to see the field as regularly towards the end of the Pro12 season as he did over the last few weeks.

And as a young capped international continues to question the amount of minutes he gets at Leinster, it must be asked, isn't this exactly what David Nucifora was brought in for?

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