Felipe Contepomi has claimed that Harry Byrne has 10 times more talent he had, but that the 22-year-old still needs more time to develop his game.
Byrne was sprung off the bench for both Leinster and Ireland over the last two weekends, but on both occasions the young fly-half appeared to be trying to force things a little too much, and ended up making a number of errors.
Contepomi knows a thing or two about being a good play maker, having won 87 caps for Argentina as either a fly-half or inside centre, while he also played over 100 times for Leinster.
Now Leinster’s backs coach, Contepomi was speaking to the Irish Examiner about Byrne and explained that the youngster still needs time to settle into professional rugby.
Felipe Contepomi on Harry Byrne.
“I was 10 times less talented than him. Maybe I had other things that he doesn’t, but he is very talented, definitely. But look, he’s young, and sometimes we expect [a lot], and sometimes it doesn’t work that easily for a young out-half,” Contepomi said.
“You need experiences. It’s not about age, but it’s about passing through similar situations over and over, and sometimes making errors and learning from them, that’s what gives you experience.
“So he’s in that part of his career, but you are always judged to the top level, so that’s the challenge he’s facing. I think he’ll get it right and we’ll try to help him and prepare him to succeed as much as we can.”
Harry Byrne x Scott Penny ?
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) August 29, 2020
The young fly-half is still inexperienced at the top level.
Byrne is still largely inexperienced in professional rugby, having played 26 times for Leinster since making his debut for his province in 2019, while he won his first two caps for Ireland this year.
The 22-year-old has often found himself behind Johnny Sexton and his older brother Ross in Leinster’s pecking order, but his coaches clearly have plenty of faith in his potential.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell included Byrne in his squad for the Autumn Nations Series ahead of more experienced fly-halves in his older brother Ross, Billy Burns and Jack Carty, even though he had played very little rugby this season due to injury.
Byrne hasn’t been able to realise his potential at the highest level yet, but it does seem like he may be being prepped as Ireland’s long-term answer at number 10.