Rugby

It's Going To Be Very Hard To Slow The Hype Around Cullen's Cubs Now

It's Going To Be Very Hard To Slow The Hype Around Cullen's Cubs Now

Calvin Candie would have enjoyed yesterday's Leinster win. Before Leo Cullen's men took the field against Bath, there was hope that the promise shown by the young players during the season would finally blossom even further on the European stage.

If you weren't swooning before, you must be going a little weak at the knees now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyfdcoocex8

Ross Molony - who one of our writers has nicknamed 'the better looking Leo Cullen' - gave a commanding Man of the Match performance as he dominated the lineout. Molony is only 21 but has already established himself as a strong option in the Leinster 23.

The prospect of the former St Michael's pupil getting picked in Joe Schmidt's Six Nations squad is also gaining traction among fans.

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Molony's towering presence at the set-piece was assisted massively by the pinpoint darts of hooker James Tracy. Given that Sean Cronin occasionally suffers from the yips at the lineout, Tracy's sure throws will have certainly gotten the attention of his head coach.

Another feature of Tracy's performances throughout the season has been his rambunctious ball carrying. He might not have the pace of Cronin, but he is a pacy hooker who is hard to put down. He also showed a Schalk Britsian touch in releasing Isa Nacewa down the touchline.

Tracy wasn't as well known as some of the more profiled members of the young guns before yesterday's game but his all-action performance demanded the attention of the masses.

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Tracy's front row colleagues also looked good. Tadhg Furlong has recovered well from the mauling he took against Wasps earlier this year while Peter Dooley - one of the few Offaly men to represent the province - emerged as a credible alternative to Jack McGrath and the ailing Cian Healy.

Josh van der Flier gave another busy performance that was overshadowed slightly by some of the other illustrious displays but JVDF has gotten praise heaped upon him during the last fews week so he probably won't mind his team-mates getting the plaudits this time.

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And Luke McGrath further cemented his status as Leinster's best option at scrum-half. His service is crisp and speedy while he also tracks the runs of his team-mates well and tries his best to pop up on their shoulder.

How surprised are you that you've gotten this far without seeing a reference to Garry Ringrose? Yes, the media has been salivating over the number 13 for the last few weeks, but it hasn't been excessive. It may be premature to say that Ringrose should be give the outside centre spot in the Six Nations but you can't doubt that whenever he takes the field for Leinster he has been *media buzzword* classy.

Yesterday Ringrose glided around the RDS pitch like Voldemort. This break is typical of what he brings to the side.

Whatever about Molony possibly being a bolter in Schmidt's squad, Ringrose should be there on form. Cullen has used him smartly, not flogging him every week but selecting him sparingly so he can gradually build up his exposure to professional rugby.

With every passing game, more and more people are becoming enamoured with his style of play.

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So that brings us to the Six Nations. Realistically, it will likely come too soon for all the aforementioned young players bar Ringrose and possibly Molony.

Most journalists seem to think that the Ireland coach will stick with a Robbie Henshaw/Jared Payne centre partnership but there are other options. What about Stuart McCloskey/Robbie Henshaw? Or maybe McCloskey/Ringrose against Scotland or Italy?

It has only been a few months since the disastrous end to the World Cup and only a few weeks since the provincial sides were either decimated by injuries or were playing miles off their best.

Not bad options to have three weeks out from the Six Nations all things considered.

Watch: Shane Horgan And Will Greenwood Debate Whether Garry Ringrose Should Start In The Six Nations

Read: How Ulster Can Still Qualify For The Champions Cup Knockout Stages

Will Slattery

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