Thursday 20 October 2016

Scrum coach insists Kelleher would be better off at Leinster

Published 03/05/2016 | 02:30

Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile
Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty believes departing winger Cian Kelleher would be better served remaining at his home province.

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Connacht are expected to confirm the capture of the highly-rated 21-year-old whose exit has caused fresh tension between Leinster and the IRFU's performance director David Nucifora.

The academy starlet, who can play on the wing or at full-back, has found his path to a starting jersey blocked by two non-Irish qualified players in captain Isa Nacewa and Springbok Zane Kirchner as well as Ireland internationals Rob and Dave Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Luke Fitzgerald. Garry Ringrose has also appeared on the wing this season.

As a result, Kelleher has started just one game in an injury-hit campaign and has chosen to take up Connacht's offer of a full contract with Nucifora's blessing.

"Cian is a quality player," Fogarty said. "I'm not going to discuss any contractual stuff.

"Here is a really good environment. It is also a huge learning environment with all those internationals so there is a certain amount of it that you learn on the field, important lessons, but with Isa and Zane, interacting and watching how they go about their business, that is really important.

"So that he understands what type of person he needs to be as much as what type of player. We feel Leinster do all that stuff really well."

Meanwhile, Leinster could be without Luke Fitzgerald and Josh van der Flier for Saturday's final regular-season game against Treviso. Fitzgerald strained his medial knee ligament against Ulster, while Van der Flier hurt his ankle. Sean Cronin is also expected to miss out.

Irish Independent

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