Friday 6 December 2019

Dempsey delighted by scrum-half competition

Dempsey and Jamison Gibson-Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Dempsey and Jamison Gibson-Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Girvan Dempsey has praised the scrum-half battle at Leinster as Luke McGrath and Jamison Gibson-Park continue to bring the best out in each other.

When Eoin Reddan retired last season, there was a considerable void left to fill and although both young scrum-halves have some way to go before having the same impact that Reddan had, the signs have certainly been positive.

McGrath has evidently benefited from the time he spent in Carton House with Ireland and having won his first cap against Canada in November, the former St Michael's College student is understandably high on confidence.

Gibson-Park arrived in Ireland on the back of winning the Super Rugby title with the Hurricanes and he has slotted in very well at Leinster.

For backs coach Dempsey, who is working closely with McGrath and Gibson-Park, he is pleased with how well they are working together.

"If you look at all our 9s we don't want to pigeon-hole them," Dempsey explained.

"All our 9s are flexible and capable of playing different styles of rugby. It's (sniping) one of Luke's strengths, and I think we recognise it is that.

"He's trying to balance his game in terms of sniping and passing from the base and trying to be more all-rounded. We know that's one of his strengths, it always has been - defensively and attacking with the ball in hand."

"I think it (confidence) was always there. It's just him growing as a player. You go through peaks and troughs at different times over the year.

"He's playing really well, he's enjoying the way we're playing, it suits him. He's so unbelievable in terms of his work on the field and his extras - his passing and his kicking. You saw it at the weekend, some of the kicks he put into the corner, into the wind. Then his defensive work, it's phenomenal. It's all-round.

"When you look at himself and Jamison, there's great competition, they're pushing each other on. We're in a good place, it's about creating that competition across the field."

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