Leinster Front Row Options going forward

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Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 25th, 2017, 11:50 am

Loosehead Prop
Cian Healy(30) - Signed central 3yr contract in 2016
Jack McGrath(28) - Signed central 3yr contract in 2016
Ed Byrne(24) - Signed contract in 2017
Peter Dooley(23) - Signed contract in 2016

Tighthead Prop
Michael Bent(32) - Signed contract in 2016
Tadhg Furlong(25) - Signed contract in 2016
Andrew Porter(22) - Signed contract in 2017

Oisin Heffernan(23) - Academy Year 3
Jeremy Loughman(22) - Academy Year 3
Vakh Abdaladze(21) - Academy Year 1
Jack Aungier(19) - Academy Year 1

Loosehead prop is potentially the deepest position in Leinster rugby, along with backrow. Cian Healy and Jack McGrath aren't out of contract this season. Peter Dooley and Ed Byrne could both be out of contract this season, Leinster could have a struggle keeping both at Leinster.

Tadhg Furlong could potentially be out of contract this season, although this is unclear. Presumably he will be negotiating his next contract with the IRFU after his outstanding performances last season. Michael Bent has developed into a quality backup tighthead prop, is also potentially out of contract. Andrew Porter is unlikely to be out of contract after signing a pro deal last season.

In the academy, both Jeremy Loughman(UCD) and Vakh Abdaladze(Clontarf) are capable of playing both loosehead and tighthead prop, although they have been focusing on tighthead this season for the A team. Loughman is in his final year in the academy, while Vakh just joined the academy this season. Oisin Heffernan(Terenure) is also in his final year in the academy and has been solely a tighthead prop as an academy prop. Finally Jack Aungier(St. Marys) joined the academy straight from school last summer, to date as an underage player he has been a tighthead prop when playing for Leinster.

In the sub academy, Jordan Duggan(Naas) and Joe Byrne(DUFC) have both been primarily loosehead props since leaving school and their progress with Ireland u20 will be interesting to watch to see if they can earn academy deals for next season.

Hooker
Richardt Strauss(32) - Signed contract in 2017
Sean Cronin(32) - Signed 3yr contract in 2015
James Tracy(27) - Signed contract in 2016
Bryan Byrne(24) - Signed contract in 2017

Sean McNulty(22) - Academy Year 3
Ronan Kelleher(20) - Academy Year 1

Sean Cronin is out of contract this summer and will obviously looked to be kept by Leinster. Presumably James Tracy is also out of contract this summer and Leinster will want to retain him as well. Richardt Strauss and Bryan Byrne signed contracts last season, doubtful both are out of contract but possible Byrne is.

In the academy, Sean McNulty(UCD) needs a big year to prove his quality but has yet to play for the A team, he is in his final year in the academy. While Ronan Kelleher(Lansdowne) joined the academy last summer and should feature heavily for Ireland u20.

In the sub academy, Eoghan Clarke(Wanderers), Cathal Duff(Naas) and Daniel Sheehan(DUFC) are 3 under-20's being looked at for potential academy positions. Clarke and Duff are recent converts from loosehead prop where they played for Ireland at under 18 level.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby matt » October 25th, 2017, 3:34 pm

I think if Leinster are to be the best team in Europe again that we need 1 top class hooker and 2 very good other hookers to provide competition. We have good hookers but strength is relative and our lineout has malfunctioned at key times.

Would definitely keep Cronin(31) who has unique skills especially in open space & Tracy(26) who is a good all round forward but can struggle at lineout time. Strauss(31) is another very good player but if we signed a top class hooker might move elsewhere.

The best prospect in world rugby is Asafo Aumua (20) and is joining the Hurricanes alongside Dane Coles (30). Both are in current NZ squad. Codie Taylor(26) Crusaders & Nathan Harris (25) Chiefs are the other 2 hookers in NZ squad. Could there be a chance that one of these 4 could be available? A player like Nathan Harris might be interested if he thought he was 4th choice for NZ.

Malcolm Marx (23) is likely to be SA hooker next few years so out of reach.

Other than NZ hookers best prospects who we might look at are Jordan Uelese of Australia (20 and a massive 19st) or Julien Montoya of Argentina (24) both are understudies to the experienced Stephen Moore (34) & Augustin Creevy (34) so unlikely to get them prior to WC 2019.

Asafo Aumua would be the best option but Nathan Harris is one of the top 10 hookers worldwide and would be a great addition to Leinster. IRFU might be against it but they are beginning to realise strong provincial sides important.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 25th, 2017, 3:36 pm

matt wrote:I think if Leinster are to be the best team in Europe again that we need 1 top class hooker and 2 very good other hookers to provide competition. We have good hookers but strength is relative and our lineout has malfunctioned at key times.

Would definitely keep Cronin(31) who has unique skills especially in open space & Tracy(26) who is a good all round forward but can struggle at lineout time. Strauss(31) is another very good player but if we signed a top class hooker might move elsewhere.

The best prospect in world rugby is Asafo Aumua (20) and is joining the Hurricanes alongside Dane Coles (30). Both are in current NZ squad. Codie Taylor(26) Crusaders & Nathan Harris (25) Chiefs are the other 2 hookers in NZ squad. Could there be a chance that one of these 4 could be available? A player like Nathan Harris might be interested if he thought he was 4th choice for NZ.

Malcolm Marx (23) is likely to be SA hooker next few years so out of reach.

Other than NZ hookers best prospects who we might look at are Jordan Uelese of Australia (20 and a massive 19st) or Julien Montoya of Argentina (24) both are understudies to the experienced Stephen Moore (34) & Augustin Creevy (34) so unlikely to get them prior to WC 2019.

Asafo Aumua would be the best option but Nathan Harris is one of the top 10 hookers worldwide and would be a great addition to Leinster. IRFU might be against it but they are beginning to realise strong provincial sides important.


I'd say there is very little chance they'd approve a NIQ in a position where ireland is lacking depth.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby matt » October 25th, 2017, 3:57 pm

quote="mildlyinterested"]I'd say there is very little chance they'd approve a NIQ in a position where ireland is lacking depth.[/quote]

Munster probably have the best 2 Irish hookers after 2019 in Scannell & Marshall (available 2019) as Best & Cronin unlikely to be still around then & Tracy, Heffernan & Herring have yet to convince. Leinster need an upgrade in this position more than any other but agree may be restricted by IRFU to NIQ options.

I hope we are still not giving out about the lineout in 2 years time. A top class hooker would also be good for Cronin & extend his career with Leinster.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 25th, 2017, 3:59 pm

matt wrote:quote="mildlyinterested"]I'd say there is very little chance they'd approve a NIQ in a position where ireland is lacking depth.


Munster probably have the best 2 Irish hookers after 2019 in Scannell & Marshall (available 2019) as Best & Cronin unlikely to be still around then & Tracy, Heffernan & Herring have yet to convince. Leinster need an upgrade in this position more than any other but agree may be restricted by IRFU to NIQ options.

I hope we are still not giving out about the lineout in 2 years time. A top class hooker would also be good for Cronin & extend his career with Leinster.[/quote]

Lack of quality options elsewhere will make it difficult to justify one at leinster, if leinster want top class hooker, need to develop one.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby neiliog93 » October 25th, 2017, 4:33 pm

Strauss hasn't been the same player (or anywhere near it) since his injury and health problems and is 31 now. Tracy isn't bad but doesn't look like he'll be ever be a truly convincing hooker at champions' cup level, never mind international. Bryan Byrne probably isn't good enough. Cronin is magical on his day, if he could consistently throw we'd be sorted for a first-choice at least.

With Isa likely to retire at the end of the season (he would be nearly 37 by the end of the 2018-19 season if granted another year), I think we badly need a NIQ hooker. Financing these moves isn't the issue (according to MOC and Leo we're a lot more competitive financially than is widely reported in the media), but getting IRFU acquiescence will be tough. Malcolm Marx is better than Dane Coles at the moment, obviously the dream move, but unlikely before the RWC and with big French money rolling around; nevertheless, Ulster were able to get Piutau on c.700k a year, so it's not impossible.

I was wondering about Tolofua. He made an explosive start to his Toulouse career but is now third choice at Saracens. Facundo Bosch is 26, has 7 Argentina caps but has chosen to play abroad instead. He's currently at Agen, who are likely to be relegated from the Top 14.

There a few guys in New Zealand Super Rugby with similar profiles: Ben Funnell, James Parsons and Liam Coltman are 27, 30 and 27 respectively, have buckets of Super Rugby experience and have proven themselves as quality players. However, they are just below All Black level, with Funnell uncapped and Parsons and Coltman having 3 caps between them. Surely they're options?

Elsewhere, Adriaan Strauss has been dropped by the Boks but IMO remains a very good player. Akker van der Merwe at the Lions (transferred this season to Sharks) is 26, uncapped, and a very mobile operator at hooker, almost as quick as Cronin but at a tiny 5'10" and 108 kg (17 stone) a serious threat poaching over the ball at the breakdown. Lastly, he can throw reliably.

If we had to settle for someone IQ, Niall Annett has established himself at Worcester and could be an option. McGuigan at Leicester has played for the Saxons now so is ineligible for Ireland.


Regarding props, we really are sorted at tight-head. Heffernan will probably move on, but even one of the other academy guys proves good enough at Champions' Cup level, we're good to go. At loosehead, we'll probably lose one of Dooley or Ed Byrne, and long-term will need one of Joe Byrne or Duggan to step up.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby sunshiner1 » October 25th, 2017, 5:09 pm

Dave Heffernan's stat's at Connacht this season have being extremely impressive. There is also Tom McCartney at Connacht who is IQ
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby matt » October 25th, 2017, 5:35 pm

I don't see what the irfu problem would be if say we got Nathan Harris.

Cronin would get plenty of gametime mainly as an impact sub and it might take the pressure off Tracy to work on his throwing and we could yet have an international class hooker. Despite great props, back row and an improved second row with the addition of fardy and Ryan we may still fall short without a standout hooker.

Leinster success is good for irfu.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby Gearzbox2 » October 25th, 2017, 5:53 pm

matt wrote:I don't see what the irfu problem would be if say we got Nathan Harris.

Cronin would get plenty of gametime mainly as an impact sub and it might take the pressure off Tracy to work on his throwing and we could yet have an international class hooker. Despite great props, back row and an improved second row with the addition of fardy and Ryan we may still fall short without a standout hooker.

Leinster success is good for irfu.


I'd say there's not a hope in hell of Leinster being allowed sign a "top class hooker" mainly due to the fact we have 2 current internationals in Cronin and Tracy...Throw Strauss in the mix also who probably is finished up this year but you wouldn't know but I can't see Leinster keeping him
TBH Brian Bryne just doesn't seem up to it really on past evidence

They might look to bring in a project player at hooker to develop but other than that imo I think Cronin has plenty left in the tank along wit Tracy backing him up as a combo...
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby Ruckedtobits » October 25th, 2017, 6:13 pm

sunshiner1 wrote:Dave Heffernan's stat's at Connacht this season have being extremely impressive. There is also Tom McCartney at Connacht who is IQ


Heffernan's the one Leinster should look for - with a chance of getting him. No way we would be allowed bring in an NIQ in this position with Best on the cusp of retirement and except for Scannell, other National contenders 30 or over with injury histories (not all very serious admittedly).
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby ronk » October 25th, 2017, 8:01 pm

We have depth at hooker and some decent options.

Byrne has shown some good stuff at times, we’re stocked and have developing players. If we will need to sign a hooker it probably won’t be next year so we can sign one later if we need one.

We’ll have big names in Lowe and Fardy. Position most in need of a signing is likely to be fullback and we need leverage on that front. Tighthead could be tight if there are injuries. Points to not signing a hooker.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby matt » October 25th, 2017, 9:25 pm

ronk wrote:We have depth at hooker and some decent options.

Byrne has shown some good stuff at times, we’re stocked and have developing players. If we will need to sign a hooker it probably won’t be next year so we can sign one later if we need one.

We’ll have big names in Lowe and Fardy. Position most in need of a signing is likely to be fullback and we need leverage on that front. Tighthead could be tight if there are injuries. Points to not signing a hooker.


Ronk I respect your opinion but I think if we improve our options at hooker we can be a top class team and still use Cronin and Tracy in this highly attritional position.

Apart from Marshall who becomes niq in 2019 all other provinces have 2 Irish qualified hookers but apart from scannell and best who has been great but is near retirement all are good provincial players but won't win you a champions cup.

The easiest thing is to go with the status quo and if we do we will still win pro 14 or pro 20 if it gets to that but if you want to get the most out of the rest of the pack which is excellent you need a top class hooker.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby Gearzbox2 » October 25th, 2017, 9:42 pm

matt wrote:
ronk wrote:We have depth at hooker and some decent options.

Byrne has shown some good stuff at times, we’re stocked and have developing players. If we will need to sign a hooker it probably won’t be next year so we can sign one later if we need one.

We’ll have big names in Lowe and Fardy. Position most in need of a signing is likely to be fullback and we need leverage on that front. Tighthead could be tight if there are injuries. Points to not signing a hooker.


Ronk I respect your opinion but I think if we improve our options at hooker we can be a top class team and still use Cronin and Tracy in this highly attritional position.

Apart from Marshall who becomes niq in 2019 all other provinces have 2 Irish qualified hookers but apart from scannell and best who has been great but is near retirement all are good provincial players but won't win you a champions cup.

The easiest thing is to go with the status quo and if we do we will still win pro 14 or pro 20 if it gets to that but if you want to get the most out of the rest of the pack which is excellent you need a top class hooker.


I hear where you're coming from but in terms of looking at the provinces across the board we have the best standard of hooker out of them all imo...
Your point doesn't really hold weight when you compare other parts of our pack
E.g would you love Pieter Steph Du Toit ( South African lock) over Dev, yeh you would realistically
There's always gonna be players across the globe who you'd love to add to our squad but it ain't realistic or ever gonna happen
We're not Toulon
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby neiliog93 » October 25th, 2017, 10:17 pm

Tracy might have a couple of caps but he is way down the pecking order for Ireland; behind Best, Cronin, Scannell, Dave Heffernan and now McCartney in all probability. Best will be kept on for the 2019 RWC, Marhall is IQ in 2019 and at least one of Sherry and Casey will likely manage to return from long-term injury problems. I don't see the crisis at hooker.

I don't think we need much leverage at tight-head either in terms of NIQ signings. Furlong is the best in the world in his position, Bent is a dark horse for Ireland selection at this stage and Porter is one of the most promising players across the Six Nations teams. Even if we discount Heffernan (our academy prop, not the hooker at Connacht), we still have Loghman, Aungier and Abdaladze to come through, all of whom look good prospects.

We might well need a fullback, I'll give you that. That said, Rob Kearney will likely stay on for the 2019 RWC, Jordan Larmour has progressed faster than expected and Joey's medium-term future seems to be at fullback. James Lowe can do a job there too. I wouldn't say our need is as acute as it is at hooker, which is really the key point.

To win a European cup, we need a better option at hooker.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby matt » October 26th, 2017, 12:37 am

neiliog93 wrote:Tracy might have a couple of caps but he is way down the pecking order for Ireland; behind Best, Cronin, Scannell, Dave Heffernan and now McCartney in all probability. Best will be kept on for the 2019 RWC, Marhall is IQ in 2019 and at least one of Sherry and Casey will likely manage to return from long-term injury problems. I don't see the crisis at hooker.

I don't think we need much leverage at tight-head either in terms of NIQ signings. Furlong is the best in the world in his position, Bent is a dark horse for Ireland selection at this stage and Porter is one of the most promising players across the Six Nations teams. Even if we discount Heffernan (our academy prop, not the hooker at Connacht), we still have Loghman, Aungier and Abdaladze to come through, all of whom look good prospects.

We might well need a fullback, I'll give you that. That said, Rob Kearney will likely stay on for the 2019 RWC, Jordan Larmour has progressed faster than expected and Joey's medium-term future seems to be at fullback. James Lowe can do a job there too. I wouldn't say our need is as acute as it is at hooker, which is really the key point.

To win a European cup, we need a better option at hooker.


This thread might be about "Leinster Front Row Options going forward" but to broaden it out "What do we need to win a European Cup".

Would Carbury/R.Kearney, Daly/A.Byrne/O'Loughlin/Mc Fadden/D.Kearney, Henshaw, Ringrose, Lowe, Sexton, L.McGrath, Healy/J.McGrath, AN Other, Furlong, Toner/Ryan, Fardy, VDF/SOB, Conan/Heaslip, Ruddock/Leavy do it with bench of Healy/J.Mc Grath, Cronin, Bent, Toner/Ryan, any one of 6 back rows + Jordi/Deegan, JGP/McCarthy, R. Byrne & an outside back. Confident we can get no 14 and no 9 right with existing players but no 2 needs external recruitment if we are to challenge Saracens/Clermont at the business end around April. It is too important a position to say "ah we're ok until after 2019" and we are unlikely to produce somebody homegrown before then.

Just my opinion. I was wrong about our prospects against Montpelier/Glasgow. Hope I am wrong again. :D
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby Degz » October 26th, 2017, 6:56 am

We need a top class scrum half and hooker, those are the two positions that, when full strength, we look weakest at. Potentially another top class winger short once Lowe arrives.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 26th, 2017, 7:05 am

Degz wrote:We need a top class scrum half and hooker, those are the two positions that, when full strength, we look weakest at. Potentially another top class winger short once Lowe arrives.


They'll have to develop them just like basically every other position where leinster have top class players. Especially where there arent many options elsewhere for ireland.
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 26th, 2017, 7:52 am

Gearzbox2 wrote:
matt wrote:
ronk wrote:We have depth at hooker and some decent options.

Byrne has shown some good stuff at times, we’re stocked and have developing players. If we will need to sign a hooker it probably won’t be next year so we can sign one later if we need one.

We’ll have big names in Lowe and Fardy. Position most in need of a signing is likely to be fullback and we need leverage on that front. Tighthead could be tight if there are injuries. Points to not signing a hooker.


Ronk I respect your opinion but I think if we improve our options at hooker we can be a top class team and still use Cronin and Tracy in this highly attritional position.

Apart from Marshall who becomes niq in 2019 all other provinces have 2 Irish qualified hookers but apart from scannell and best who has been great but is near retirement all are good provincial players but won't win you a champions cup.

The easiest thing is to go with the status quo and if we do we will still win pro 14 or pro 20 if it gets to that but if you want to get the most out of the rest of the pack which is excellent you need a top class hooker.


I hear where you're coming from but in terms of looking at the provinces across the board we have the best standard of hooker out of them all imo...
Your point doesn't really hold weight when you compare other parts of our pack
E.g would you love Pieter Steph Du Toit ( South African lock) over Dev, yeh you would realistically
There's always gonna be players across the globe who you'd love to add to our squad but it ain't realistic or ever gonna happen
We're not Toulon


Scannell & Marshall > Cronin & Tracy
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby mildlyinterested » October 26th, 2017, 7:53 am

to those people saying to win a european cup we need a better hooker, I guess you figure we don't have a chance this year then?
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Re: Leinster Front Row Options going forward

Postby Oldschool » October 26th, 2017, 10:47 am

To win a European cup we need three things.
A good pack, which we have.
A modicum of luck, so far so good.
Most of our first choice backs available.
The availability of our backs will determine our 'seeding' in the playoffs and thus in all probility how far we go.
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