Programme Preview: Penny ready to climb the mountain
November 22, 2018 1:00 pm Site Editor
Seán O’Brien was nursing that blasted broken arm. Dan Leavy was spotted looking on from the stands in the Aviva Stadium.
Josh van Der Flier slogged, slashed and soldiered through the greatest single win in the history of Irish rugby.
All the while, Scott Penny was somewhere dreaming that it might be his destiny one day to wear the green shirt with such valour in victory.
The 19-year-old Academy openside is at the foot of the mountain looking up at the hike ahead. Ireland’s three best sevens just happen to work at his club. And he just loves it.
In fact, Leinster offered Penny direct entry into the Year 1 of the Academy, bypassing a year in the Sub-Academy.
At present, the former St Michael’s College flanker stands at 6’ tall and weighs in at 100kgs (15st 10lbs), certainly big enough, if good enough, even in this time when South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit and Argentina’s Guido Petti have been sighted on the openside.
However, they are different nations with a different way of playing the game.
Leinster remains dedicated to uncovering and developing flankers with skills complementary to the way they play the game.
“Personally, I don’t think I’m that small. I wouldn’t be the biggest,” considered Penny.
“As long as your work rate is good enough around the pitch and you feel confident in the contact zone, you won’t let that size difference eat you down, make you unconfident about the tackle area.”
“It mainly comes down to work rate and working on your skills, poaching, tackling. Once you’ve got two specific skills, you can work around those.”
The love of rugby at Lansdowne once-a-week from seven years old turned into something more obsessive at St Michael’s College.
“It’s pretty much like a professional set-up. We were in three mornings-a-week for gym. The environment was important. I didn’t really think about being a professional until fourth or fifth year.”
Older brother Alex Penny is currently the club captain at UCD in the All-Ireland League where Scott is studying Science in first year with the goal of moving into Financial Mathematics in second year.
“Alex was always a big name around school, playing Junior Cup and Senior Cup. Everyone looked up to him.
“When he was in sixth year, I was in second and, back then, it definitely made life easier. He was a big influence on me. I was Alex’s little brother.”
Read the full interview in the official Leinster v Ospreys match day programme, on sale at the RDS Arena this Friday.
Join the roar at Leinster v Ospreys this Friday at the RDS Arena. Tickets are available now from €27/10.