Friday 16 November 2018

Jordan Larmour: 'If you see a gap, you always back yourself'

Sexton’s sharp tongue won’t stifle Larmour’s attacking instincts

Jordan Larmour says he hasn’t had time to take stock of all he has achieved this year. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Jordan Larmour says he hasn’t had time to take stock of all he has achieved this year. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The rugby world is at Jordan Larmour's dancing feet, but he has taken each new challenge in his stride.

He has always wanted to be a professional rugby player and he possesses the kind of talent others dream of, so why would he have any nagging doubts as he prepares to play a second senior final in three weeks this Saturday, two months after playing his part in a historic Grand Slam?

His highlights reel is already impressive, but he is confident there is much more to come.

Next month, he will celebrate his 21st birthday and he will most likely do so while travelling from Brisbane to Melbourne having featured in Ireland's first Test in Australia.

The hard Southern Hemisphere track should suit his talents and he will hope to make his first Ireland start over the course of the three weeks Down Under.

At the start of the season, he wrote down his goals; to cement himself in the British and Irish Cup team, while hoping for a Leinster debut during the international windows.

A few sensational scores in the interprovincial games did for that; he played against Italy, Scotland and England in the Six Nations campaign and started the Champions Cup win over Racing 92 in Bilbao.

Last weekend, he was part of the team that beat Munster at the RDS and he is expected to keep his place for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 final against Scarlets.

Not a bad breakthrough season.

"It's been a good season so far; won the Grand Slam and the Champions Cup," he says as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

"So it would be nice to send off Isa and a few of the lads on a high and a piece of silver under the belt so ... no, I'm just lovin' every part of it so far, so just keep it going.

"If you told me that at the beginning of the season I wouldn't have believed you. I was in the academy trying to do the best I could there, playing for St Mary's at the time so yeah if you said I'd be involved in the Champions Cup team or the Grand Slam winning team I wouldn't have believed you."

What has surprised Larmour most is just how normal playing rugby at the highest level has been.

"I thought it would be a lot different, but it's just like another rugby team," he says.

"It's a group of lads, everyone just playing the game. Everyone just loving playing it as well.

"The competition for places is so high here. If you have a bad training session it hangs over you.

"You go in and have a video session and see where you can do better.

"Every day you come in you are trying to get better and improve.

"When you go from the sub-academy into the academy and into the senior squad, they are all stepping stones which helps you get more prepared.

"When you are playing All Ireland League rugby you are playing bigger men so you get a little bit of a taste but there is always going to be that little bit of a step up when you are playing professional rugby.

"I do definitely think from the schools to the sub-academy, academy to the senior team they will help you. I know Leinster do a lot of work with the schools so that definitely pays off."

Along the way, Larmour has always had the confidence in his own ability.

After the last meeting with Scarlets, Johnny Sexton's comments on Larmour's boundless enthusiasm for the ball went viral.

But on the pitch the out-half was less forgiving when the 20-year-old demanded the pass from his scrum-half before attempting to beat six defenders.

Twenty metres away, his more illustrious team-mate was left looking at the gaping space in front of him wondering what he had missed. Simply, Larmour reckoned he could score.

Listen

"You are always going to listen to the senior lads on the team and the coaches," he explains of his thinking.

"But, like, if there is a gap and you see one, you will always back yourself. And they'll tell you that as well.

"It's not always plain sailing. If you see something that they might not, you have licence to do it. On that occasion, it was probably a very bad idea. I probably won't do it again.

"There is a balance between backing yourself and knowing when to say no. It is probably in the bigger games where it counts more. That's why I talk about going back to keep learning. I will try to keep learning from them (senior players) and listening to the coaches."

A year ago, he was out injured and attended a barbeque with a couple of academy team-mates before rocking up to the RDS for the semi-final against Scarlets.

Now, he is front and centre and ready to be part of the first Leinster team to win a Champions Cup/PRO14 double.

"I haven't had a chance to just thing about how the season has gone so far because it has been so busy," he says.

"It's next game after next game. I like it that way. It is really exciting times for Leinster and Irish rugby.

"Another piece of silverware in the bag would be really nice."

It's quite a collection he's amassed in the past few months but he's showing no sign of slowing down.

Irish Independent

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