Friday 18 August 2017

Dempsey backs Ringrose to seize Six Nations chance

Givan Dempsey says Garry Ringrose has ‘barely scratched the surface of what he can do’. SPORTSFILE
Givan Dempsey says Garry Ringrose has ‘barely scratched the surface of what he can do’. SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Girvan Dempsey has backed Garry Ringrose to shine when he makes his Six Nations debut in Scotland tomorrow.

The 22-year-old has been outstanding for Leinster this season and on the back of his impressive performances for Ireland last November, Dempsey believes that the centre is ready to take the next step in his career.

Former Ireland full-back Dempsey has worked closely with Ringrose from his time in charge of the academy and now as the province's backs coach.

While his talent has been carefully nurtured, Dempsey believes that now is the time for the exciting centre to make his mark on the Six Nations.

Scratched

"Garry has barely scratched the surface of what he can do," Dempsey enthused.

"He just bounces onto the training field. And we're just constantly looking forward to seeing what's going to come next.

"He just loves playing, training; he loves the game and all that's involved with it. He doesn't see this as a job.

"He loves expressing himself, and certainly we'd never, ever want to curb that in any way because it's so refreshing. Hopefully he'll just keep getting better and better as time goes on."

Ringrose has played 13 games for Leinster this season and was a key figure in ensuring that his side are back amongst the Champions Cup quarter-finals after last season's disappointment.

His five tries have him marked by the opposition as a potent strike runner but Dempsey also explained how much his defence has improved in recent times.

"Defence is far more than just raw power, it's not coming up and smashing guys, it's about reading the game to be in the right position, in terms of footwork, timing and style of tackling," he explained.

"He sees the picture in front of him in terms of defence really well, and there's good connections with guys all around him as well.

"He's developing a good partnership with Robbie (Henshaw) now, that's really coming on well.

"But he's also a very physical defender, he's extremely committed to that part of the game and can certainly offer a punch in the tackle."

Special

Dempsey recalled how special Ringrose's talent was from as early as his days in Blackrock College before he was unsurprisingly fast-tracked into the Leinster academy.

"Dealing with him right from the off, even from 17, you could tell he was rugby-smart; he just got it," Dempsey said.

"You could have a real intellectual conversation on rugby with him. He grasped it. Even in one-on-one reviews with him he would come prepared.

"He would see the issues, he would highlight aspects for improvement himself. He was nit-picking his own game and constantly striving for improvements even at that stage.

"But he's a kid that loves the game and that's his philosophy on it, he just wants to enjoy every moment of it, go out there with a smile on his face, express himself and enjoy the game.

"A lot of kids at that age feel a lot of pressure, they find it hard to deal with it all, but he seems to manage all that extremely well."

Ringrose's partnership with Henshaw at Leinster will be a massive help when he takes that next step in Edinburgh tomorrow and Dempsey will be proudly watching on.

Irish Independent

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