mildlyinterested wrote: ↑
March 24th, 2021, 10:27 am
he was healthy in his final season for leinster, but was released anyway after a few appearances.. it's a mitigating factor but given he has turned into a lions level player you'd hope leinster will have learned a few lessons from that given he was released while squad players like Mick Kearney and Ian Nagle were retained.
Same goes for Thornbury who returned from NZ and was looking for a pro contract.
Leinster seemed happier to rely on low ceiling players like Kearney and Nagle instead of rolling with some high upside projects in Beirne and Thornbury, you'd hope going forward that this wouldn't happen again given Beirne is now our biggest rivals best player.
I don't think similar would happen today but you never know, see Cormac Izuchukwu.
Some may think this over-critical but I think a organization such as leinster will be evaluating themselves and trying to ensure that athletes such as Beirne and Thornbury who they had invested heavily in and are quite rare in irish rugby are not lost again in the future.
Leinster have been quite lucky to have James Ryan and Ryan Baird come out of u20 rugby ready to play top level rugby almost immediately... and this has helped cover up the loss of Beirne and Thornbury to other provinces.
That's how Leinsters development path works though. You can't keep everyone with quality because there aren't enough minutes to go around, nor is there enough money. Leinster operate with a 6 man second row rotation of 2 Irish internationals, 2/3 Pro14 players (either imports or players just not quite Ireland quality) and 2/1 prospects with max 4 between the last two categories. You cant keep 3 international quality locks happy (unless you play one at 6 but we're not exactly stuck for quality back rowers either so that's not an option).
It's very easy to say oh we missed out on players of Thornbury and Beirnes potential but they likely wouldn't have reached that potential at Leinster due to a lack of minutes.
So if you look at when those two were in the squad you had Internationals (Toner, McCarthy), Pro 14/12 (Triggs, Kearney), Prospects (Beirne, Thornbury).
When they left Molony took one of the prospect roles while Nagle came in to fill the gap until Ryan was ready (after U20s it was a case of would it be that year or next for him) Nagle then stayed on the next year because McCarthy retired unexpectedly.
Essentially Leinsters 2nd rows went:
2015: (Toner, McCarthy),(Triggs, Kearney),(Beirne, Thornbury)
2016: (Toner, McCarthy),(Triggs, Kearney, Nagle[holding for Ryan]),(Molony)
2017: (Toner, Ryan),(Fardy, Kearney, Nagle[Would have been McCarthy]),(Molony)
2018: (Toner, Ryan),(Fardy, Kearney, Nagle[Would have been McCarthy]),(Molony)
2019: (Toner, Ryan),(Fardy, Molony),(Dowling, Baird/Dunne)
2020: (Toner, Ryan),(Fardy, Molony),(Baird, Dunne)
And for 2021 is looking like:
(Baird, Ryan),(Dunne, Molony),(Ryan, Deeny)
It's not an exact science but there was no luck involved in Baird and Ryan coming through how they did. The spots in the squad were planned out for them.