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Leo Cullen speaks about the Byrne’s ‘brotherly’ rivalry

Brothers Ross and Harry Byrne competing for Leinster’s starting fly-half position is healthy part of their rivalry, according to head coach Leo Cullen.

Leinster claimed their second win in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, beating Northampton Saints 35-19 at the RDS Arena in Dublin.

Harry Byrne was due to start at fly half ahead of his older brother Ross, but the 21-year old was pulled out of the match late on after getting injured in the warm up.

Cullen was speaking before the game about the dynamic between the two brothers and admitted that the competition between the two is “slightly strange”.

“I know Rob [Kearney] primarily played at 15 but sometimes it would affect the dynamic of the team. Between Dave and Rob, there were a few scenarios where, potentially, it was one for the other, week to week.

“All the guys, they want to play, particularly in these big European games. For us, we’re trying to manage the group and bring guys through as well. You’ve eyes on lots of different things.

“The dynamic of those two guys [Ross and Harry], they’re very, very close – certainly they appear very, very close. But they’re also competitive. They both want to play. It’s a slightly strange one but healthy brotherly rivalry,” Cullen said.

‘Sometimes I feel like ringing their parents’

The former Ireland and Leinster player admitted that choosing one over the other wasn’t as simple as a normal team selection but believes they enjoy competing with one another.

“You’re probably better off asking one of them, or both of them [about their dynamic]. You might get two different answers as well. They’re great. Very competitive, so I think they enjoy the competition and the rivalry.

“It’s great to see. I think you would have to ask their parents maybe [who to select], sometimes I feel like ringing them up and asking them.

“I’ve a younger brother as well. He never actually took my spot thankfully so I never got to experience what that was like. I’d imagine it’s an unusual dynamic but hopefully the older siblings are happy for their younger ones.

“They’re your classic competitive 10s really. They’ve both been great, two very important members of the squad,” Cullen commented.

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