Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Brian O'Driscoll explains where Ross Byrne needs to improve

Ross Byrne must improve in one specific area that Johnny Sexton excels in, explains Brian O'Driscoll.

Brian O'Driscoll joined Off The Ball to discuss Ross Byrne as Jonathan Sexton's replacement for Leinster and Ireland.

Leinster are expected to beat Leicester on Friday night.

Last year's Premiership Champions are not playing great rugby over recent times, and the Leinster machine has continued to maul everyone in front of them. Ulster were the most recent victims in the Aviva Stadium last week.

But while Leinster easily pushed Ulster aside, out-half Ross Byrne drew some criticism for his performance on Wednesday Night Rugby.

Byrne must fill Jonathan Sexton's shoes for Leinster over the remainder of the season. Sexton won't play again this year. And that means Byrne must beat the likes of Leicester, La Rochelle, Toulouse and whoever else th Champions Cup latter stages offers up.

Brian O'Driscoll also showed some reservations about Byrne on Thursday ahead of the Leicester game.

"You never really see Ross Byrne getting hit late," O'Driscoll said.

"And why is that? It's because he's not as aggressive to the line, he's not holding it until the last second. You're holding the defenders inside to create space outside. Whereas we never see Ross getting [the rough] treatment [that Sexton gets].

"And people give out that Johnny milks it. He gets so many late shots."

Sexton's ability to play on the gain line has been integral to Ireland's success over the years. He threatens to run and he pulls the defensive line inside, which is what frees Garry Ringrose and the wingers outside.

It's less of a burden on the 10 for Leinster and Ireland now because Hugo Keenan and Caelan Doris, amongst others, are such effective first receivers. But Byrne still has to play his part.

"That is the part of his game that he needs to get to. Because if you want to add to what you've got already, he's built a great kicking game, good control, he's a nice passer of the ball, I think he has to be able to learn to square up around the corner."

Leinster face Leicester at 8pm on Friday night in Dublin.

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