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'It's a no-brainer to start Ciarán Frawley at 10!' | ANDY DUNNE

Ciarán Frawley is the best option at Leinster to start at flyhalf against La Rochelle on Saturday, according to former Leinster outhalf Andy Dunne.



Ciarán Frawley is the best option at Leinster to start at flyhalf against La Rochelle on Saturday, according to former Leinster outhalf Andy Dunne.

The Leinster 10 jersey has long been a point of debate, with Johnny Sexton nailing it to his own back for so long, the talk was always about who would take when he hangs it up.

Now that time has come, and Ross Byrne is the man in possession. However, the 28-year-old is out until the new year with an arm injury he suffered against Munster two weeks ago.

Leinster are not short of contenders waiting in the wings, however. Ross' younger brother Harry Byrne is fit and available, as is U20s star Sam Prendergast, both of whom have been touted as the next man to guide Ireland in the flyhalf channel.

However, for Andy Dunne, the best option Leinster have is in their utility back Frawley, who has played the majority of his professional games at wither inside centre or fullback.

Frawley needs time at 10

Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, Dunne argued the case for the 26-year-old to start against Leinster's latest European rivals, La Rochelle.

"If I was Nienaber or Leo Cullen, I would start him on Saturday," Dunne said. "I'd be very much of the same opinion of Mike Catt and Andy Farrell that his best position is 1o.

"They obviously brought him over to the New Zealand tour and he played the Mãori games. He's had injuries that disrupted his season.

"I always go back to a piece of advice from Ollie Campbell: 'A young 10, and/or any 10, don't judge them until they've had 80 minutes three weeks in a row.'

"It's a position that requires bedding in, not just talent, strategy and a capacity to read the game. There are so many requirements within the position, but arguably one of the most important ones is repetition and familiarity, and reassurance you're going to get a run.

"It's very hard to be ice-cold strategically if you think you're going to get hooked after 65 minutes and not play again for six weeks in that position."

'You don't have to stylish, but he happens to be'

Frawley came on for Ross Byrne in the eighth minute against Munster, steering the ship for the majority of the game as Byrne had gone off injured.

It was Frawley's first extended period at 10 this season, and Dunne felt that he cemented his place as the next man up in the flyhalf position after Ross Byrne.

"When he came on for Ross [Byrne] he had one or two edgy moments in the first couple of touches, and then he just got into the groove," Dunne said.

"His groove is physically imposing, a brilliant passer, a running threat, variation in his kicking game, strategically good, a very good defender, a really good place kicker and stylish. You don't have to stylish, but he happens to be.

"So, I do get a little puzzled over the years with Leinster's approach to certain 10s."

'It's a no-brainer'

On the depth chart at 10 for Leinster, Dunne firmly selected Frawley as his only choice behind the senior Byrne.

"He's ahead of Harry Byrne for me," Dunne said. "Purely based on his ability. In terms of Ross [Byrne], he has done a sterling job for Leinster over a number of years. He's almost never let them down.

"I'm sure he's disappointed with his own performance in the final last year, but he was central to their progress to the final last year. In the absence of Ross, for me it's a no brainer to put Frawley at 10."

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