Thursday 8 December 2016

It's been a fine few weeks for Leinster's 'green' young guns

Published 18/11/2016 | 02:30

Garry Ringrose showed glimpses of his potential against Canada Picture: Sportsfile
Garry Ringrose showed glimpses of his potential against Canada Picture: Sportsfile

Leinster may not have played in two weeks but it's been a pretty good spell for the province as the focus begins to turn to next Friday's trip to Wales to face the Scarlets.

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Since the Blues' last game, five of their talented youngsters have won their first Ireland cap, Jamie Heaslip's try against Italy won 'try of the year' at last weekend's World Rugby Awards, it was confirmed that Brian O'Driscoll will be inducted into the hall of fame while the RDS has also been announced as a potential 2023 World Cup venue, should Ireland be successful with its bid.

Not a bad couple of weeks but the one major sour note has certainly been the serious injury that Jordi Murphy suffered in Chicago in that famous win over New Zealand.

Excellent

Murphy has been in excellent form but he may not play again this season after he was ruled out for six to nine months with a ruptured cruciate ligament.

In the same game, just as he has been doing throughout his fledgling career, Joey Carbery handled the step up when he was thrown in the deep end and helped Ireland see out the game against his country of birth.

Last Saturday's win over Canada was about as routine as it gets at international level but to blood eight new caps and score 52 points was a huge positive.

Half of those new faces were from Leinster, and Leo Cullen is sure to have been proud of the way his players handled themselves.

Garry Ringrose started the game and showed similar kind of form to what he has shown for Leinster over the last 18 months. The 21-year old looked solid and while he typically did the basics very well, he offered glimpses of the explosive potential that he will hope keeps him firmly in Joe Schmidt's plans for the immediate future.

"I would always heed the adage of focusing on the next challenge and enjoying any opportunity I get there," a delighted Ringrose said after the win over Canada.

"In the build-up I was trying to stay calm. I had a little bit of nerves beforehand. So to get out and actually play was a pretty cool experience."

Lively

Ringrose got to share the experience with Luke McGrath, Dan Leavy and James Tracy - all of whom were introduced in the second half at the Aviva Stadium.

McGrath was lively when he came on, Leavy stole a crucial turnover while Tracy marked his debut with a try.

Murphy's injury will leave a gap in the back row and, although Cullen does have plenty of options on his hands, Leavy will be determined to make sure that he is one of those.

It has taken Tracy a while to find his feet after he made the switch from loosehead to hooker on the back of some words of wisdom from Schmidt, and the former Newbridge College student will have similar ideas to Leavy going forward.

"Over the years from my (Ireland) U-20s side there were eight or nine playing," Tracy explained.

"We would have been friends for ages and that was really comforting during the week. They're guys that you had played with over the years and you have the craic when you are playing against them provincially and the like. Once you see them you are straight back into habits with old friends. All the lads are sound."

A good couple of weeks indeed for the PRO12 leaders.

Irish Independent

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