Belfast Telegraph

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Rising star Leavy is eager to keep staking claim

By Cian Tracey

This time of year will always test the strength and depth of a squad, adding in an extra interpro will do so even more, but when you have an embarrassment of riches such as Leinster's, that task is somewhat easier.

Players are playing for places in a squad arguably the most competitive in Europe right now and, crucially, the standards are not dropping when the coaching staff ring the changes.

After making a blistering start against Munster, in which they blew the home side away, Leinster had to dig deep to see off a second half comeback.

It's all part of the evolution of this group of young players, who look poised to end the club's four-year wait for a trophy.

Dan Leavy, one of the young guns who is leading the charge, said: "At the start of the second half they clawed their way back and showed good resilience.

"Jordan (Larmour) did really well to make that break and score. When you have the whole of Thomond Park screaming against you and they were rumbling like that, I thought we did very well to get stuck in."

Leavy's turnover a minute before Larmour's stunning try epitomised Leinster's relentless desire to win, and the man of the match at Thomond Park admitted that he lost the run of himself in celebrating the penalty.

"Yeah, I got pretty excited after that one. So much so I had Nigel (Owens) laughing at me and I had to apologise," he said.

"When the lads dig in like that and defend for 20-plus phases and then come away with a positive result, it just shows how hard the team work for each other. It was brilliant."

Leo Cullen will rotate his squad again for the New Year's Day visit of Connacht, but such is the scrap for places, players like Leavy must feel as if they almost can't afford to sit out a game.

"It is very competitive, so you take your opportunities," the flanker maintained. "I think I put my hand up. We have a quick turnaround but there are a few more opportunities to play before Europe again. It's important to keep the foot on the throttle."

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