Thursday 24 October 2019

'I was in between kicking it and catching it' - Jordan Larmour reflects on the one that got away

Jordan Larmour of Leinster is tackled by Mako Vunipola of Saracens
Jordan Larmour of Leinster is tackled by Mako Vunipola of Saracens
David Kelly

David Kelly

WHILE everyone else was watching ‘Game of Thrones' on Sunday night, Jordan Larmour was watching a game of moans. This was no binge watch; more a cringe watch.

As is their wont, players fast forward to their own involvements but when Larmour alighted on his, he wanted to rewind it. Again and again and again.

Hoping, as the team did, for a different outcome. But when he pressed the remote, only frustration followed.

While the official video review had yet to take place when he speaks to us, he has already watched the Champions Cup final defeat. Not once, but twice.

He knows he had the chance to blow the game open, even before Rob Kearney's decisive break a few minutes later.

He can still see the ball now, bobbling beneath the Milburn stand, the dribble, like Waddle, then waiting for the ball to speak.

"Catch me or kick me!"; Larmour hesitated, fatefully, but the pill remained mute. And so he had to take his medicine. Bitter to swallow, even now. He takes us back to yet another Saturday "What if?" moment.

"When I was going after the ball, it bounced up a little bit," he explains, exasperated still.

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"I was in between kicking it and catching it. I went to pick it up, it was sort of at my knee height, then it just tipped my hand and went forward.

"Like I said, it's small margins. That ball bounces up into my hand and then I'm under the sticks. Those little moments win or lose you games. That was my thought process."

Another thought that suffocated against the forces of unbreakable will. Any sense of intellectual leaning towards creation was smothered by destructive brutality.

How else would Garry Ringrose suddenly lose his spatial awareness at the most required moment or Larmour sidestep east-west, like a startled deer being set upon by rabid wolves?

It's what happens when a wolf-pack descends, and defends, like Saracens do.

"There wasn't much space. I thought we could have taken the edges a bit more, tried to get the ball out wide.

"But they were coming hard off the line and just firing into the ruck, making it hard for ourselves.

"We were getting slow ball and not really taking our chances.

"I felt in the second half we were getting good forward momentum into their 22 and the ball gets ripped and we are all back at our end.

"Certainly, at times, we got zig-zaggy. We didn't really know where we were going.

"We play at our best when we're playing with momentum, playing on top of teams, getting over the gain line.

"We're going to have to better, if we're going to beat Munster."

Compensation, if not consolation, awaits them as the reigning champions seek to retain the other title annexed in 2018.

"Definitely for ourselves we want to finish on a high but we also want to give something back to the supporters," he adds.

"They travel to every game and they are always the loudest fans in there."

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