Saturday 19 January 2019

Lancaster backs Larmour to maintain scintillating form

Senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Senior coach Stuart Lancaster. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Stuart Lancaster has backed Jordan Larmour to maintain his scintillating form as the supremely talented 20-year-old looks to force his way into the Six Nations reckoning.

It now seems like only a matter of time before Joe Schmidt caps the Leinster star but it is hard to know whether that will be this spring or perhaps on the summer tour to Australia.

Larmour has been thrilling the Leinster supporters since breaking into the team, and Lancaster, who built his reputation on nurturing England's young talents, has been equally impressed.

Given his tender age, the Leinster coaching staff are reluctant to build the former St Andrew's College student up too much but right now, he is the form player in Ireland.

"Joe has already involved him in camps and they'll have selection meetings over the next week or two and they'll be debating the pros and cons," Lancaster said.

"What I would say is everyone in Ireland has done a brilliant job developing Jordan so far to the point, right through from his school, U-20s, to what we've done. It will be Joe's decision, not mine, but he's certainly a talented player."

"I'm not the coach but he reminds me a lot of some of the young players I coached in England. Jack Nowell is a good example.

"You can never really tell until you get them into camp and part of the reason why Joe has had him in camp is to see what he's like. He's certainly got all the attributes and he's definitely moving in the right direction."

Overall, Leinster go into Sunday's Champions Cup clash with Glasgow Warriors high on confidence after a hugely impressive inter-pro series in which they racked up three victories.

Competition for places has rarely been as strong as it is in the province right now, which brings plenty of welcome selection headaches for the coaching staff.

"We've been pleased with the performances over the last three games, particularly Ulster," Lancaster maintained.

"For me, the best of the three but it counts for nothing because we lost our last game against Glasgow in the PRO14.

"They were very impressive that day and even though, in theory, they have got nothing to play for, they're a very good team - very well coached and a very proud team as well.

"It's not going to be easy and we have got a short turnaround. As I said to the players in the changing-room after the Ulster game, it's a squad effort.

"It's not going to be 15 players who contribute in the next two games.

"It's going to be 23 and it could conceivably, with changes, it could be more because of the short turnaround."

Glasgow have failed to fire a shot in this season's Champions Cup but having beaten Leinster already this season they will be quietly confident of causing an upset at the RDS on Sunday.

The Scots are undergoing something of a transition under new head coach Dave Rennie and their form in the PRO14 has Lancaster wary of the threat they pose.

"Both their out-halves and scrum-halves are international players," he warned.

"I think Glasgow are a very similar make-up to us, in terms of their strength in depth and the number of internationals they can pick from.

"It's more about us getting our bit right and making sure that we are ready because we know that they are a good team."

Leinster are well on course to make it back to the knockout stages and Lancaster added that all of their focus is on ensuring that they secure a home quarter-final.

"Every point counts to make sure that you finish as high as you can in the seedings so you can guarantee yourself, ideally a home quarter-final, and if you are successful there, then a home semi-final because that's where you want to be."

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