Rugby

"He's got a real rugby brain" - Mike McCarthy welcomes Ross Byrne's inclusion

Arthur O'Dea
Arthur O'Dea

10:46 11 Jan 2019


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Mike McCarthy is confident that Ross Byrne can replace Johnny Sexton for Leinster’s big clash against Toulouse on Saturday.

Speaking on Friday’s OTB AM, the former Leinster and Connacht lock believes the young fly-half has what it takes to lead Leinster to victory against the French giants.

"Ross Byrne can certainly control a game," McCarthy explained.

"He’ll put the lads in the right area of the field and he’s got a real rugby brain, he’ll make really good decisions."

Ross Byrne

Toulouse are in fine form at the moment and are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run, their most recent loss coming in September last year.

"They’ve got a lot of cohesion and togetherness," McCarthy believes.

"That’s something maybe that Leinster don’t have at this stage because of the chopping and changing of the team.

"This is a French team that has done their analysis, they’ve done their homework. We know how dangerous, how quick those Toulouse backs are."

While Leinster are missing a few big names, with James Lowe and possibly Devin Toner set to miss the match, McCarthy believes the current European champions have enough to secure the win at the RDS, nevertheless.

Munster meanwhile take on Gloucester at the Kingsholm Stadium in a crucial Pool 2 clash tonight. Their pool is the hardest to call in the tournament, with only four points separating top from bottom. McCarthy was confident that Munster would get the win in England, however, and didn’t rule out the possibility of them going on to win the tournament.

"Munster are always in with a shout aren’t they? Their pack is looking really strong with Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the second row and that back row is pretty phenomenal," McCarthy stated. 

"They’re incredibly frustrating to play against, they’re hugely physical. I think one area they need to improve on is their attack. If they can do that they’re going to be in a very good place going forward."

Ulster are also in action in the Champions Cup this weekend, playing Racing 92 in the Kingspan Stadium while Connacht take on Sale Sharks in the Challenge Cup in Galway.

Written by Eoin Harte

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Champions Cup Johnny Sexton Leinster Rugby Mike McCarthy Ross Byrne Toulouse

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