Click here for photos of Kieran Lewis as he receives the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Leinster Player of the Month award for February/March.
Pictured above: Kieran Lewis receives his Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Leinster Player of the Month award for February/March from Ingrid Cray of Bank of Scotland (Ireland).
The St. Mary’s man has put in some outstanding performances so far this season but his Celtic League performance against the Dragons ensured that this award was always heading in his direction. Although Leinster lost 31-18 against the Welsh outfit, Lewis was a constant thorn in the Dragons’ side, scoring a brace of tries – he also enjoyed a fine game against Connacht.
In addition to this latest award, Lewis’ consistent form resulted in a call up to the Ireland training squad for the RBS 6 Nations. The 25-year-old also managed to get on the score sheet in the Ireland “A” team’s fine win over England recently.
The Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Player of the Month initiative was instigated during the 2003/04 season and has already this season seen players such as Felipe Contepomi, Keith Gleeson Ben Gissing and Rob Kearney walk away with a much cherised honour – the public support of the Leinster fans.
Commenting on Lewis’ award win, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said: “Kieran has had a great year. I know that there has been some speculation recently about him possibly moving teams and we want our players to be happy. He’s really enjoying player for Leinster. He has improved his skills and his kicking and passing have been very consistent.
“A sign of a quality player is someone who can step up a standard and he did that and made a good impact for Ireland “A”. I’d say that he must be a long shot for (Ireland’s) Southern Hemisphere tour in the summer.”
At Wednesday’s press conference ahead of Leinster’s Good Friday clash with Llanelli Scarlets at Lansdowne Road (kick-off 7.10pm), Cheika said: “We’ve got a maximum of 25 points to play for (in the Celtic League) and it’s important that we use our two remaining home games (against Llanelli and the Ospreys) to get as many points as we can.
“We’re striving to maintain a consistent peak performance, which takes practice. That’s a challenge to the mind as well as to our physical preparation. We’ve brought several new aspects into our play for the next few weeks. The key is to make sure that the players keep on learning.
“We’ll be putting out as strong a team as we can because we want to stay competitive.”
Leinster scrum half Guy Easterby will miss out on facing his younger brother Simon, the Llanelli captain, on Friday. Flanker Simon swallowed his tongue after tackling London Wasps full-back Mark van Gisbergen, 27 minutes into last weekend’s Powergen Cup final defeat for the Scarlets.
Guy, who is set for his 39th Leinster cap, said of his brother’s injury: “I was just relieved that he was okay, although I don’t think it was the wisest thing for him to be sitting on the bench watching the second half.
“I watched the first replacy of the incident (with van Gisbergen) and couldn’t bear looking at it again.”
**All photos by Donall Farmer and Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**