Molony fights for a right to be in Leinster's winning set-up

So far, Molony has resisted the urge to go. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Rúadhrí O'Connor

Ross Molony knows the territory well at this stage. These are the weeks when he is asked to step in and perform, to lead the less experienced Leinster lights.

When the internationals return, Molony is one of those who will step out of the team and watch on, ready to come back in during the Six Nations and do it all over again.

At the end of each contract the 25-year-old is presented with a dilemma. Stay in the most successful operation in Irish rugby and play his part or force himself out of his comfort zone by leaving in search of first-team action.

So far, Molony has resisted the urge to go.

The only way to press his claim is by performing in these windows and, having stepped in with a big impact off the bench at Thomond Park, he's likely to play a central role against Connacht on Saturday.

"I always believe that I'm good enough to play in the first team," he said. "Moments like that help. We've had a few big wins this season, like Glasgow away and Connacht away.

"It is just those big wins that drive the squad and individuals as well. It is a driving factor to put your hand up for selection.

"You want to be playing in the European games, in the big matches," says Molony.

"Some games are seemingly bigger than others, but we are all working towards that goal of winning, putting ourselves into the knockout stages and, ultimately, winning trophies.

Unbeaten in 13 matches this season, there is already talk that the PRO14 champions could go the entire season without losing.

Every week they win again, their scalp becomes more of a prize and Connacht are next up to have a go at the RDS.

"Any team that plays us, they are going to come out with their best performance of the season, just so they can take their best shot at Leinster, try and turn over Leinster who are PRO14 champions or whatever it is."