Saturday 23 February 2019

Larmour will continue to wing it and trust instinct

That’s Larmour: Jordan Larmour believes that part of the reason for his success is because he doesn’t over-think when he gets the ball in his hands
That’s Larmour: Jordan Larmour believes that part of the reason for his success is because he doesn’t over-think when he gets the ball in his hands
David Kelly

David Kelly

Sport is as much about making great mistakes as it is about making great plays.

If there were no margin allowed for error in the RDS tomorrow, we may as well not show up. The game would finish 0-0. Nobody would try to get something right for the fear of getting something wrong.

Too many of us live life like that, so it's the last thing we want to see in sports.

You get a sense that, as much as his life is directed by nutrition plans and game plans, training schedules and video reviews, and drowning in data, GPS and stats, Jordan Larmour skips gaily to a beat of his own drum.

A joyous rhythm.

And so, as much it was such a thrill this season to see the most dazzling footwork witnessed in Chicago since Catherine Zeta-Jones, it was also encouraging to see him make a hatful of mistakes against Argentina during the same month.

Only the greatest make brilliant mistakes because they are always thinking of the creative possibilities.

That's precisely what attracts those who seek to wallow in the marvellous distraction of sport.

And one of the wishes for 2019, whatever the year may bring for a player who last season accumulated every major honour that was available to him, is that he retains the same intuitive spark that illuminates all those who watch him.

There may be an ocean of knowledge to be absorbed in the before and the after but in the moment, the only time he doesn't have to think is when he gets a ball in his hand.

"Yeah, I suppose it is just kind of reacting, going on instinct when you have the ball," he says.

"You know that is kind of how I play. I don't really over-think it. I go with my gut and if I ever see a gap to go for it.

"But it is all important to keep learning, especially with the players and the coaches you have around you and the experience so always keep learning, keep growing my knowledge and keep getting better."

If it has taken him this far, at just 21, one marvels to think of where he can go.

In Monaco before Christmas, he mingled with some greats of the game as if already an established legend, not merely a nominee for the World Rugby breakthrough player of the year.

Bryan Habana and Rieko Ioane gathered around; their snapshot a triptych of wing wizards of the then and now.

They all thrived on the thrill of the step and the sprint, evasion and invention, teetering on that tightrope where their attempt to embarrass opposing defenders could, sometimes, inflict self-harm.

"Next time they will probably want to smash you but that is the way of it," he smiles.

"All you can do is go out and just do your best. You are going to get smashed some of the times but you just get back up, get back on the horse."

Bumped

Tony McCoy rode more than 4,500 winners but he also lost more than 14,000 times and was bumped off many a dis-obliging mount; Roger Federer has almost lost as many points in his tennis career compared to those he has won.

The point, literally, is that he more often than not wins the ones that matter.

And so it will be for Larmour tomorrow; searching for that vital intervention to make all the difference, skirting the chasm between risk and reward, all the while buffeted by a bank of self-knowledge and the support of a team.

And whether it is a sashaying slalom that skittles defenders, or a close-range run-in from a perfect punt or precise pass, all that matters to him is that his contribution can be decisive.

"I don't really think about it to be honest," he says, when asked about his - relative - drought of signature tries since that glorious hat-trick in Chicago against Italy last November, his sole scores in nine caps of international rugby.

He has a modest four in nine games for Leinster; the trademark, Habana-esque intercept in Bath his only score since Chicago.

"I am just trying to do my job and do my best for the team," he demurs. "If you score a try that is always nice.

"But I don't really think about it too much. All I think about is doing my role and doing the best I can for my teams and my team-mates."

Rugby fans are in for a treat tomorrow as Toulouse's ambition to play will match that of Leinster's.

"I think just the way they play really it is so exciting," says Larmour; a man not even born when the French side won the first of their four titles, a number matched by their opponents.

"They thrive off counter-attack, off turnover ball. you have seen the tries they have scored this season.

"The off-loading game they have, the pace, the players they have, they seem a pretty exciting team to watch and they are a dangerous team.

"So this week we are going to have to come up with a good game-plan, especially in defence.

"We can't give them any cheap turnovers. We must be switched on."

Larmour always is.

Irish Independent

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