Alan Quinlan was on Monday’s OTB AM and praised young Leinster hooker Ronan Kelleher after impressing against Connacht on Friday night.
The 21-year-old has been in fine form so far this season, scoring six tries in five appearances for the eastern province so far this season.
He was on the scoresheet again for Leinster against Connacht, scoring two tries in a 42-11 at the Galway Sportsground.
“His overall play around the field is so dynamic. I haven’t seen a huge amount of him - away at the World Cup I didn’t see all those games.
“But reading those reports and I watched the game on Friday night and Leinster were outstanding in that first half,” Quinlan said.
Leo Cullen’s side were absolutely dominant in Galway, employing a fast-paced attacking game that saw them lead by 29 points at half-time.
The former Munster and Ireland flanker was impressed that Leinster were able to win in such a comfortable fashion away from home.
“I think they probably went with a real fear-factor to the Sportsground. It is a very tough place to go. I think they were very nervous about that.
“But their application and their accuracy was superb and when you see someone like Ronan Kelleher making line breaks, running switch lines and offloading - their offloading game and their attack was just immense.
“He looks a superb player. A really top-quality player. Obviously, when you’re that young there’s still nuts and bolts that you’ve got to get right.
“Maybe the scrummaging, some of the lineout throwing. Things like that you do get better at but the ingredients are there for him to become a top-quality international player,” Quinlan commented.
Could Kelleher feature in next year's Six Nations?
While the Tipperary man would be happy to see Kelleher in the Ireland squad for next year’s Six Nations, he felt that experience in the Heineken Champions Cup would have to come first.
“Someone like Ronan Kelleher - if he starts for Leinster in Europe or plays a part, well he has to go straight into the Six Nations squad.
“It’s up to the provincial coaches to bring these guys in and play them. Then if they play a number of games and they’re good enough.
“You can’t take risks in Europe and say, ‘Oh, we’re just going to throw a young guy in there because we want to develop him.’
“There is a bit of a stepping-stone element there. Unless they’re an absolutely freakish talent out of school,” Quinlan said.
Leinster take on Benetton in their first Heineken Champions Cup match at the RDS at 3.15pm on Saturday as they begin their search for a fifth European title.