Ryan Baird, of Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) Men, has been named on the bench for Leinster’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre in Italy tomorrow evening.
This is the first time Baird has been named in a senior squad this season, having previously featured for Leinster A in the Celtic Cup.
Baird made his competitive senior debut for Leinster last April, coming off the bench against Ulster in a PRO14 match.
Baird, who is also a sports scholar, received high praise this week from former Irish rugby international Jerry Flannery. Speaking on the podcast Baz and Andrew’s House of Rugby, Flannery described Baird as a “serious player”.
The lock played a significant role in the team’s success last year as they reached the semi-finals of the All-Ireland League. Baird is yet to play for DUFC this year due to his involvement with Leinster.
Baird was one of five DUFC players that travelled to Argentina with the Irish team to compete in the World Rugby under-20 Championship this summer. Ireland finished in eighth place in the tournament, after losing in the seventh place play-off to New Zealand. Baird scored one of Ireland’s three tries in that match.
Baird also featured in the Ireland under-20 Six Nations team that won the championship last Spring, after a victory over Wales.
Baird has previously represented Ireland at under-18 Schools and under-19 level.
Baird is the second DUFC player to get called up to the senior Leinster team this season. Scrum-half Rowan Osborne made his senior debut on October 4th in Leinster’s PRO14 clash against Ospreys.
Speaking to The University Times in August 2019, DUFC attack coach Hugh McGuire said that the Rugby World Cup would present opportunities for players at the fringes of the Leinster squad. Given the absence of Leinster’s Irish internationals, academy players have a chance to make an impact with the senior team.