Wednesday 26 July 2017

I won't give up No 10 shirt without a fight - Byrne

Leinster's Ross Byrne. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Ross Byrne. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Now that Ross Byrne has firmly put his persistent ankle problem behind him, he has his sights set on playing a major role in Leinster's run-in.

Byrne has been hugely impressive in the out-half position in recent months, so much so that Leo Cullen has shifted Joey Carbery to full-back.

Although Johnny Sexton (if fit) is set to resume control of the No 10 jersey for the Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps, Byrne is confident that he still has a part to play.

Byrne faces stiff competition from Sexton, Carbery and the fit-again Cathal Marsh but with each of the four offering something different, Cullen is spoilt for choice.

"With the four of us there, it's a really competitive position but I don't think any of us are going to give it up easy," Byrne said.

"We're all probably getting better and better so we just have to keep improving.

"I'd say it's a great thing for Leinster, we all have pretty unique points of difference. It gives the club great variety and a number of different options, depending on how they want to play."

Leinster have picked up 20 points from a possible 20 during the Six Nations period, and next weekend's game at home to Cardiff not only gives them a chance to maintain their place at the top of the Pro12 table but it will also serve as a final dress rehearsal before the mouthwatering European clash against Wasps.

"We've got some massive games coming up now towards the end of the season - massive game against Cardiff next week," Byrne said.

"We're fully focused on that. Hopefully I will get to start that game, or play in it anyway. Get a win there and onto the Champions Cup. Hopefully I'll get to play as much as possible in the big games and try and affect them as much as I can.

Tightest

"The league is so tight this year, it's probably the tightest it has been in years. We want to get a home-final so it's very important that we stay at the top of the league.

"We can't slip up or teams behind us will catch us. It's very important that we get the win against Cardiff."

Reflecting on his period out with an ankle injury, Byrne admitted that it was tough to watch the likes of Carbery step up and take his chance.

"It was so frustrating, especially when there are lads there who are jumping in straight ahead of you," he said. "It's not like they are waiting for you to come back!

"I remember people saying to me "Just be patient' but it's a lot easier to say that than actually do it."

Irish Independent

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