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Leinster's Molony determined to stay in first-team shake-up

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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." Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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." Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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." Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Same room, similar questions. 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 who are contributing to what is shaping up to be a historic season for the province.

When the internationals return from their Christmas travels, 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, he has resisted the urge to go but that doesn't mean he's satisfied with his watching brief on the biggest days.

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.

The big moments he enjoyed against Munster only reinforce his belief in his ability to cut it.

"Yeah, they do. I always believe that I'm good enough to play in the first team," he said.

"Moments like that help, the enjoyment of playing the game and getting the big wins.

"We've had a few this season, like Glasgow away and Connacht away.

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"It is just those big wins that drive the squad and individuals as well. I want to be in the team, winning in the team. It is going really well at the moment. 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. Everyone in this squad is going to get their chance.

"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.

"We talk about this ourselves. We've put that marker on our own heads," Molony said.

"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.

"That's the kind of attitude that Connacht will come with. Being an inter-pro around Christmas, that adds to the excitement itself.

"Everyone is going to want to take a chip at us so they are going to come with that mindset.

"For us it's not just about matching that but coming out on top of that battle. And it is going to be a battle on Saturday. We want to maintain our momentum."

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