Wednesday 11 December 2019

High-flying Ringrose hits ground running in bid to draw a line under Japan

Garry Ringrose celebrates after scoring Leinster's fifth try. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Garry Ringrose celebrates after scoring Leinster's fifth try. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Sporting a headband after the 18 stitches he received around his eye following a shuddering clash of heads with Robbie Henshaw during the World Cup quarter-final defeat, Garry Ringrose went some way to easing the emotional scars on Saturday night.

The one that has been left on his face will be a constant reminder of Japan, but the first chance Ringrose got to banish those painful memories, he did so in style.

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The 24-year-old emerged from the wreckage with his reputation firmly intact and his sparkling display against Benetton during which he scored his first hat-trick was a reminder of his undoubted class.

Three tries, 11 carries for 38 metres, two clean breaks, four defenders beaten as well as 10 successful tackles - Ringrose's numbers made for impressive reading on his return to action.

The emotional release in how he celebrated his third try mirrored that of Johnny Sexton when he touched down under the same posts, suggested that the pressure valve from recent weeks was released as Leinster got their European campaign off to the perfect start.

"I wouldn't say pent-up frustration, it kinda just happens spur of the moment," Ringrose said after his man-of-the-match performance.

"It's evidence of what it means to us and obviously how good a side Treviso are and opportunities they had to grab hold of the game.

"For us to get back and score, just means a lot to get that step closer to winning in general. It was probably a show of emotion from a couple of guys because it does mean a lot to us.

"I think as a player, I probably speak for the whole group, the Irish group anyway, when you finish on a loss, you just want to get out and play again really. You would play the next day if you could. A lot of guys are trying to get in and hit the ground running. I think after a loss, anyone wants to get out and right a few wrongs.

"Obviously we did that this evening by getting the win but we are under no illusions about what improvements need to made as well."

Saturday was a day to remember for the Ringrose household and not just Garry, as his younger brother Jack also scored a hat-trick on the same day during UCD's win over Terenure in the AIL.

That remarkable feat can't have happened too many times in the past and that Ringrose couldn't remember ever scoring a hat-trick, even in his younger days, spoke volumes for what it meant to him.

Not that the modest centre would ever show it because, as ever, the page quickly turned to Saturday's tricky trip to Lyon.

"I always say I don't take for granted the opportunities I get to play, so I am just excited to get on the pitch any time I can," Ringrose maintained.

"It's one step at a time really, that's why it meant a lot to us to get the first win here. And then there is that experience of last year, going to France and that bit of disappointment.

"Obviously Lyon is a similar challenge and the gravity of it, but it will be different in terms of the players and the squad they have and how they have started the Top 14. It's a massive, massive week for us.

"I haven't actually seen much of them. I watched highlights of a couple of their games in the Top 14 but I wasn't really looking past Treviso.

"I am obviously aware of some of the individuals they have in their squad and aware of some of the results they have put up so far.

"They have definitely got an X-factor that will mean a tough task for us.

"I was in Lyon once before against Clermont. I have been to the stadium at least but just being aware of how tough it is to go to France and win."

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