Sunday 22 September 2019

'Calm' Byrne backed to thrive if handed Ireland debut

Ross Byrne one of the three Leinster out-halves in this Ireland squad. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ross Byrne one of the three Leinster out-halves in this Ireland squad. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Of the three Leinster out-halves in this Ireland squad, Ross Byrne attracts the least fanfare and minimal column inches.

And yet there is every chance the 23-year-old could play a big role in today's series decider after being named on the bench ahead of Joey Carbery for this morning's third Test.

His assured performances in the blue No 10 jersey this season are part of the reason that Carbery is heading for Munster this summer and he will hope to take his chance if handed an opportunity against Australia.

This summer tour has been Byrne's first involvement with the senior national team, but his Leinster colleagues are confident he can make the step up if required.

"I'm delighted for Ross Byrne to get onto the bench and show what he's got because he's been mightily impressive any time he's played for Leinster," Jack McGrath said. "He deserves to be in and good on him."

Byrne's capacity to step into Johnny Sexton's shoes at Leinster and perform his role without fuss has been notable all season and McGrath says the players take comfort from his capacity to keep the show on the road in the No 1 man's absence.

seamlessly "I think they are very similar. Any time Ross has got a chance he's been very good for us, and in big games, over there in Montpellier he just seamlessly slotted in," he said.

"He hadn't played for a while before that semi-final against Munster and he had a cracking game.

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"Like Joey, things don't faze them. They're different players obviously but it's great to have a guy like that you can turn to at his age and he's giving you direct orders and where you need to be going and that's what you want from your 10."

Second-row James Ryan was a couple of years below Byrne at St Michael's College and is impressed with his calmness.

"It is great for Byrno, I am sure he has learned a lot over the last few weeks, it is great he has been asked to step up," he said. "It is exciting times for him.

"When I was in fourth year, he was sixth year, we played together then. His strong points are his calmness, his ability to find space, he does not seem to get fazed by very much, which is a really good trait when you are the playmaker."

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