Molony ready for RDS battle against Beirne
There are times when Leinster must look at Tadhg Beirne's performance levels and wonder what might have been.
The 26-year-old was outstanding in last year's Guinness PRO14 semi-final when the Scarlets stunned Leinster at the RDS, and as he gets set to return to his former home, Beirne is looking to cause more damage.
Next season, the Kildare native will of course swap the red of the Scarlets for Munster, and while Leinster are not exactly short of second-row options, Beirne's performances over the last couple of years have been such that he would be a huge asset to any team.
Joe Schmidt confirmed last week that Beirne spent time with the Ireland squad and he refused to role out the possibility of calling him up during the Six Nations.
While that scenario seems unlikely, barring an injury crisis, the Scarlets lock is in with a real chance of touring with Ireland in Australia this summer.
Saturday's meeting of the top two in Conference B is very much the game of the weekend, while it will also act as a perfect precursor for what is to come in the Six Nations next weekend.
Ross Molony will come up against Beirne and the Leinster lock, like everyone else, has been impressed by the form of the former Clongowes Wood man.
"He's been brilliant," Molony said.
"He has really had a couple of great seasons over there - he was on 20 turnovers before the Benetton game.
"I saw him get at least three, so he's really putting a marker down and like last year I'm sure he's looking to come over and make his mark at the RDS.
"Obviously he's moving to Munster next year but I'm sure he's focusing on his job with Scarlets, and the big season ahead.
"He's able to get over it, get a low body height, which is obviously really impressive.
"He's obviously been put into a pretty powerful back-row there as well with (James) Davies, who is also brilliant over the ball, but probably over the weekend that's somewhere we're looking to target.
"We have to beat them at the breakdown, they probably got the upper hand on us there when we played them in previous games so that's going to be a real focus for us this week.
"When I came into third year, he was playing in the Senior Cup final, when Clongowes beat Michael's, and I remember him playing in that game.
"Then when I came into the Academy, he was finishing up or at the end of the Academy, I think he did a year after that then, but he had some great performances for Lansdowne, when I'd seen him play."
Wales have confirmed that Ryan Elias and James Davies have been released to play with the Scarlets this weekend, along with nine others who have also been made available to their respective regions.
The Scarlets slipped up away in Treviso last weekend, and like Leinster, they are looking for an immediate response.
Leinster were off the pace for parts against Edinburgh and Molony highlighted the areas his side need to improve.
"Number one is probably discipline, the penalties we gave away allowed Edinburgh to get back into the game," he added. "It didn't feel at any stage that we were under too much pressure, it was just probably our discipline and mistakes that we made that let them back into it.
"So it's just cutting out that, and when we get that lead pushing on and taking our opportunities."