Sunday 24 September 2017

Ryan: Seeing what B&I Cup meant to seniors lifted us all

Skipper Dominic Ryan wants to finish the year on a high with Leinster A and set a foundation for himself to break into the senior side. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Skipper Dominic Ryan wants to finish the year on a high with Leinster A and set a foundation for himself to break into the senior side. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster ‘A’ captain Dominic Ryan is hoping to follow the example set by Jordi Murphy last season.

Murphy led Leinster to British and Irish Cup glory before going on to win a Six Nations medal just nine months later.

A spate of injuries as well as the emergence of several back-rows, including Murphy, has meant that Ryan’s time in the senior side has been limited this year, but he is keen to finish the season on a high as Leinster chase back-to-back titles.

To do that, they will have to see off Championship side Leeds Carnegie and Ryan is only too aware of how much they will be hurting, given that they narrowly lost in a promotion play-off to London Welsh last weekend.

“They have nothing to lose coming into the game. It’s our cup and they’re obviously going to go all guns blazing for this,” Ryan warned.

“It’s good in a way because we didn’t know what kind of team they were going to be sending over if they were still in the hunt for promotion.

“If they had won last Sunday, they may have sent over a less strong team. You’d prefer to win it against their strongest team.”

Ryan is part of a core group of a Leinster ‘A’ side that boasts exciting talents from one to 15. He knows how much the competition means to the club and that has been instilled into the Leinster philosophy since he broke into the ranks.

“Myself, Quinn Roux and Noel Reid probably have over 100 caps between us and we’re on the brink of breaking into the senior team. At the end of the day, this competition is our big thing for now.

“When I used to play B&I three or four years ago, and seeing the senior guys and how much it meant to them, it really lifted the rest of the team,” he admitted.

Leeds will pose a major threat to Leinster’s title defence, but Ryan is confident that his side will have their homework done before the English side arrive in Donnybrook this evening.

“They definitely play ball. They’re not afraid to throw it around, but that can be risky.

“It can be good for us in terms of it can provide opportunities if we’re accurate in our defence. But it can also be a big threat if we’re not accurate because they’ll get around us.

“We know that they’re quite an expansive team, so hopefully we can control that in defence and turn it into a positive,” he said.

Leinster have made a habit of taking games to extra-time – including last season’s final. But Ryan doesn’t want that trend to continue as they look to rekindle the kind of form that saw them blitz Munster in the quarter-final.

“I’ve played 300 minutes in the knockout in the B&I in the last few years. It seems to be a habit of ours in going to extra-time,” he added.

“We’d prefer a repeat performance of the quarter-final, but you never know how it’s going to go.”

As long as it goes Leinster’s way in the end, they won’t mind a jot.

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