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Leinster's rising star Leavy keen to keep seizing his big chances

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Impressive: Dan Leavy won man of the match against Connacht

Impressive: Dan Leavy won man of the match against Connacht

©INPHO/James Crombie

Impressive: Dan Leavy won man of the match against Connacht

If Leinster ace Dan Leavy wants to assess how far he has progressed in a year, he just needs to look at the numbers.

Next week, he will start his sixth game of the campaign at Zebre; it will only be the beginning of November but already he will match his total for last season. He has been involved in every game this season. Everything has changed, even if it feels to him that nothing has.

"I haven't really changed anything," said the 22-year-old, the deserved man of the match as Leinster climbed to the summit of the Guinness PRO12 with Saturday's comfortable 24-13 victory at the RDS that avenged May's final defeat to Connacht.

Leavy started and finished the opening game of last season; then, a young buck called Josh van der Flier stepped in for game two, won man of the match and ended the season with two Irish caps perched upon his mantel.

In his first season as a pro, Leavy had seen Jordi Murphy make a similar burst; third time's a charm, perhaps, for this latest product of the back-row factory?

"It's about taking my opportunities," said Leavy, who led Leinster's defining turnover and tackle count as second-half tries from wings Adam Byrne and Barry Daly helped his side overcome an early 6-0 deficit.

"I started that game last season and maybe didn't play as well as I could have. Josh got in, got man of the match and I was on the bench for the rest of the season. Credit to Josh, he has done brilliantly.

"I was sitting on the bench a lot and not really getting genuine opportunities to shine. It was extremely frustrating.

"Every day it's a fight to get in the back-row at Leinster but that's what pushes the standards and that's why the back-row is up there with the best in the world.

"You have to take your chance every week. If you aren't performing, it doesn't matter who you are, you are not going to get the jersey the week after."

Belfast Telegraph