Former Leinster and Connacht out-half Andy Dunne joined Wednesday Night Rugby to discuss Ross Byrne.
Leinster beat Racing 92 42-10 in the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday.
It was a dominant performance against a Racing team that is in need of a fresh start. They'll soon get it with Stuart Lancaster. But winning away in France against any top 14 side is an achievement. Especially when you do so without your best player.
Ross Byrne started at out-half for Leinster. Harry Byrne took his place on the bench. Jonathan Sexton is expected to return in the coming weeks, but didn't make the trip to France.
Ross Byrne led Leinster to a big win and it's not the first time he's done so. Leinster know that he can be trusted to play his role, kick goals and move them into good positions. Ross kicked three conversions, Harry kicked two off the bench. All six tries were scored by the forwards.
In the context of that performance, Joe Molloy asked Andy Dunne about anglo-Saxon out-halfs. Game-managing out-halfs in other words.
"If you look at Ross Byrne for example," Dunne said.
"He's so effective, so impactful. I do look at Ross Byrne and think of a conductor of an orchestra in that he's not one of the key instruments. But when he's around everything functions at this incredible level. And he's not necessarily doing something that's incredibly stylish or impactful himself, but the entire team just functions at a high level.
"He could be described as an anglo-Saxon out-half, but he's a coach's dream."
Ross Byrne is a model of consistency at club level. But his performances for Ireland and against the biggest club sides in Europe haven't always held up. He also plays for a Leinster team that often dominates opponents to the point that it's not really a contest.
But Dunne still thinks it's fair to compare Ross Byrne to Joey Carbery, Munster's starting out half.
"Carbery is flair and natural skill. But does he make a team function the way Ross does....Ross seems one removed from the action but when he's there it's entirely functional."
Carbery and Munster lost to Toulouse on Sunday. Carbery himself played well, but the Munster team around him is not built to compete with the best teams in Europe. Byrne on the other hand will play with the majority of the Irish team at Leinster whenever Sexton is absent.
That familiarity will help him playing for Ireland.
Furthermore, Dunne explains that Byrne fits in the lineage of out-halves that Ireland have had.
"You'd have Humphries. You'd O'Gara. Sexton is nearly different. By sheer force of will he's shaped a team. He's brought a team and a squad and a culture to his shape over 15 years. Not so understated but is a game manager.
"Byrne is a true game manager and conductor of a team. It's an incredible trait. He gets very little credit for it.
"You'd have to have a very clear argument to not include him on the back of what he's done over the last four weeks. To not include him in your thoughts for a World Cup."
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