Finishing drills with Lowe just one part of Barry Daly’s effort to build all-round game

44 POINTS SEPARATE Leinster and the Southern Kings at either end of the Pro14 Conference B table, and there could easily be a similar gap on the RDS scoreboard by full-time tonight (kick-off 19.55, eir Sport).

The reigning champions and the weaker of the newest additions to the league also have mirror-image win-loss records, with the Kings managing to find an upper hand against both Scottish teams amid 13 defeats this term.

If there is hope for an upset for the South Africans, they will look to the fresher faces and the low caps totals on the Leinster team-sheet. Ronan Kelleher seems destined for big things at hooker, but tonight will be his first taste of senior rugby. In the back row behind him Caelan Doris and Josh Murphy have fewer appearances between them than 22-year-old openside Max Deegan.

Yet there is no shortage of quality in Leo Cullen’s ranks, Ross Byrne leads a quartet of internationals in the starting XV with four more on the bench. That number includes the returning Fergus McFadden, but not the ever dangerous of James Lowe.

Completing the back three is Barry Daly, who will start at fullback for just the second time in a move Cullen says was taken with a view to building versatility in the squad ahead of the business end of the season.

Daly’s form on the wing has been excellent since the turn of the year and he has been working to round out his game, above and beyond his terrific athleticism and speed, with Stuart Lancaster.

Daly rises to take a ball against Scarlets. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“In terms of the mental side of the game,” Daly says when asked about Lancaster’s impact on him, “knowing where you are supposed to be, knowing what you are supposed to do in terms what you can add too the team. That’s the basic, staying awake.

“Felipe (Contepomi) said to me the other day (wing) is not that difficult a place to play, but it is one of the most difficult positions to be world class in.

“Making an error on the edge of the defence can lead to massive line-breaks a lot of the of time. I’d say the way that we are trying to defend now, it puts you in really difficult positions, you are trying to defend where the ball is going before it gets there. Whereas the Irish system is a bit different where they cover the backfield.

Daly’s role will be a little different again this evening, positioned at fullback there will be greater onus on him to communicate to the defensive line ahead of him while patrolling in behind. His high-fielding will almost certainly be called upon, but he has consistently impressed in the air in recent weeks.

There will be opportunities to show his array of kicking skills too. Indeed, before he was named in the team he coyly suggested he was keen to show his ability with both feet after Lancaster uttered a preference to station him on the right wing — rather than the left where he has lined up in 16 of his 22 starts for his province.

Daly chats with the media as Leinster unveil their new Aircoach. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

His try-scoring record in that time (18 in 31 appearances) is commendable, but the sight of him taking those tries is even more impressive. Aside from sheer pace, Daly’s footwork have been key in helping him execute chances when they come his way. He works closely with Lowe to keep the skills sharp.

“It’s what I was saying earlier on, Stuart and Felipe telling me what I can do off the ball to add value to the team.”

“Me and Lowey do a bit of that kind of stuff (practicing finishing tries) sometimes, a little bit of footwork in the five-metre or 15-metre channels.

“Just trying to do each other in after training. We wouldn’t be going full whack at each other but it helps.”

Full whack will surely be more than enough to push Leinster a little further off beyond the horizon in Conference B.


15. Barry Daly
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Conor O’Brien
12. Noel Reid
11. James Lowe
10. Ross Byrne
9. Hugh O’Sullivan

1. Ed Byrne
2. Rónan Kelleher
3. Andrew Porter
4. Ross Molony (captain)
5. Mick Kearney
6. Josh Murphy
7. Max Deegan
8. Caelan Doris


16. James Tracy
17. Peter Dooley
18. Michael Bent
19. Jack Dunne
20. Scott Fardy
21. Paddy Patterson
22. Jimmy O’Brien
23. Rory O’Loughlin

Southern Kings

15 Ulrich Beyers
14 Yaw Penxe
13 Meli Rokoua
12 Berton Klaasen
11 Bjorn Basson
10 Bader Pretorius
9 Sarel Pretorius

1 Alulutho Tshakweni
2 Michael Willemse (captain)
3 De-Jay Terblanche
4 Stephan Greeff
5 Andries Van Schalkwyk
6 Henry Brown
7 Martinus Burger
8 Ruaan Lerm


16 Alandre Van Rooyen
17 Schalk Ferreira
18 Pieter Scholtz
19 John-Charles Astle
20 Andisa Ntsila
21 Stefan Ungerer
22 Tertius Kruger
23 Masixole Banda

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

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