'He is a little Sean O'Brien, to be honest, he's going to be a great player'
Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster has said that academy flanker Scott Penny reminds him of departing Ireland international Sean O'Brien.
O'Brien will leave Leinster to join London Irish this summer bringing the curtain down on a tremendous career with the defending PRO14 champions while prop Jack McGrath will also leave the club to join Ulster.
Lancaster has said that both players will be missed at the club but he is confident that the academy can compensate for their losses with the former England coach singling out Penny as a player to watch over the coming seasons.
"I'll miss them, we will all miss them," said Lancaster.
"They're two Lions, two top-end Irish players. Jack is going to take the opportunity up at Ulster and we support him with that until we play against him, and Seanie is off to London Irish.
"We will miss them but you have got the likes of Ed Byrne coming through. Back row-wise, Max Deegan came on, Dan Leavy will come back from injury during the course of the season, Caelan Doris has been outstanding for us, I think Scott Penny is a little Sean O'Brien, to be honest, he's going to be a great player.
"The show rolls on with Leinster and that's a great credit to the academy and the quality of the players who come through the system here."
Penny was one of 21 players to receive contract extensions with Leinster last week and Cullen has said that the academy has been a great supplier for the club with seven players making the transition from the academy to the senior squad for next season.
“It is a credit to the work that goes on in the schools and in the clubs that we are in a position to confirm 21 new contracts, with all but three coming through the system here.
“Over the last ten months or so we have been able to hand debuts to nine Academy players and they have deserved those opportunities. And now seven players that started this season in the Academy will start next season as senior players.
“I am delighted for them and indeed their families and congratulate them on their promotion. We have been very happy with what we have seen from them all in the Guinness Pro14 and in some cases in the Heineken Champions Cup and we hope that they get many more chances in a Leinster jersey in the coming years.”