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Leinster to consider adding Conor O'Brien to Champions Cup squad

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Conor O’Brien of Leinster is tackled by Matthew Dalton of Ulster

Conor O’Brien of Leinster is tackled by Matthew Dalton of Ulster

SPORTSFILE

Conor O’Brien of Leinster is tackled by Matthew Dalton of Ulster

Leo Cullen heaped praise on Conor O'Brien after the young centre put in a man-of-the-match performance in Leinster's facile win over Ulster this evening.

O'Brien's 20th minute try helped Leinster on their way, but it was the young centre's work-rate around the pitch that really caught the eye as he looks to force his way into the reckoning for next weekend's mouthwatering clash against Toulouse.

The 22-year old was Leinster's joint top ball carrier (16) for 71 metres as well making 11 tackles in what was an all-action display.

The Mullingar native is currently not registered for Leinster's Champions Cup squad but with Robbie Henshaw still sidelined and Joe Tomane ruled out for the foreseeable future, Cullen may add O'Brien for the remaining two pool games before Tuesday's deadline.

"It's something we have talking about quite a bit about Conor, he's definitely a live option for us,” Cullen said after his side's 40-7 win over a depleted Ulster at the RDS.

"He's a very strong ball carrier and he's got a big left foot as well. He's getting better all the time and learning and understanding what is required of him.

"We're trying to test him out again and going back to that training environment, I think is important with Stuart (Lancaster) and Felipe (Contepomi). The work that they are putting in with a lot of those younger players, we hope pays off when they get their opportunity.

"It's something we will consider for sure, Tuesday deadline.

"I saw a lot of Conor when he was with the Ireland U-20s and I thought he was one of the standouts then.

"He needs to understand that we have confidence (in him), so when we put him in there, we think he is ready.

"So he just needs to back himself now because he has lots of ability and we have got a lot confidence in him.

"It's another positive step for him today to make sure he is comfortable in this arena.

"But yeah, he is a player with a huger amount of potential and ability. He's getting there, gradually."

Online Editors