Jack McGrath was described as a "world class" prop by his Leinster coach Matt O'Connor following his man of the match performance against Newport Gwent Dragons last night.
The Irish international grabbed a try just before the break helping the Blues to a 31-19 bonus point win which lifts them to the summit of the Rabo Direct Pro 12 table.
"He's world class you know, he's been unbelievable for us, he's been great for Ireland. He's got a great future in front of him," said O'Connor after the win.
"He carries the ball, he scrummages first class, he's great around the field. He's a great asset to the squad."
If he were representing any other club or country, 23-year-old McGrath would most likely be a first pick but unfortunately for him, he's competing on both fronts with one of the best looseheads in world rugby, Cian Healy. O'Connor believes both players offer something different.
"Jack's probably more your old-school prop. He does the graft, he does the hard yards. There's not many players on the field, let alone front rowers, who can do what Cian does, he's a special athlete. But where Jack has taken his game since I've been here is phenomenal and the more he plays for us and the more he plays test rugby he will get better and better."
O'Connor watched his side suffer a 13-point swing just after the restart having looked in control at half-time.
Dragons could only muster a drop goal from outhalf Jason Tovey in the first-half which levelled matters after opposite number Ian Madigan opened the scoring with a penalty. Madigan also converted the McGrath try which was scored while opposition prop Nathan Buck sat in the sinbin.
There were gasps of disbelief around the RDS when Ashley Smith and Richie Rees crossed the whitewash in the 46th and 48th minutes after the home side coughed up some easy possession. Tovey was unsuccessful with both conversion attempts but grabbed a penalty to push the visitors into a 16-10 lead in the 53rd minute.
5 minutes later , the Dragons were back down to 14 men with replacement back rower Jevon Groves sent to the sinbin and Leinster made hay.
In their second 10 minute period enjoying a numerical advantage, the hosts bagged 2 penalty tries thanks to some excellent work by the pack. Madigan converted both and O'Connor must have heaved a little sigh of relief glancing at the scoreboard to see his side leading by 8 points as they dominated on the pitch with 12 minutes to play.
A Tovey penalty closed the gap to 5 a couple of minutes later but then Tetaz Chapparo was shown a red card to put an end to any chance of a comeback for his team. The Argentine was penalised for a dreadful tip tackle on Leinster scrumhalf Isaac Boss.
The Blues looked visibly angered and it spurred them on to grab a bonus point try at the death. Sub Darren Hudson touched down and Madigan grabbed the conversion which was the right-footer's most impressive kick of the night squashed tight to the right-hand touchline.
Listen to the full audio of O'Connor talking to 98FM Sport's Stephen Doyle about McGrath here...
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