Sunday 22 July 2018

Larmour and Porter helping put St Andrew's College on the map

Larmour:
Larmour: "David Jones and the strength and conditioning programme he has for the lads is one of the best I’ve seen." Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

For a school that has never really been renowned for producing top-class rugby players, in more recent years St Andrew's College have begun to buck that trend.

Felix Jones was the first to blaze a trail and although the former full-back's career was cut short by a neck injury, the likes of Jordan Larmour and Andrew Porter have followed in his footsteps.

Porter has already been capped by Ireland and if Larmour maintains his current form, he won't be far away from forcing himself into the equation.

Hockey dominates the sporting agenda in Andrew's and had things worked out differently, Larmour might well have followed that path rather than rugby.

The 20-year-old, who lit up Thomond Park on St Stephen's Day with a stunning solo try, represented Ireland in hockey at underage level before turning his focus to rugby.

"St Andrew's isn't really known for rugby, more the hockey side of things," Larmour said.

"It comes down to S&C coach David Jones and then Charlie Doel. They have all gone through Andrew's and are really passionate about Andrew's. I think that makes a big difference.

"David Jones and the strength and conditioning programme he has for the lads is one of the best I've seen.

"He's incredibly good at his job and very passionate about what he does. Charlie Doel, he lives and breathes rugby, the same with Ian Dumbleton.

"I actually do a bit of coaching at St Andrew's. I knew a few of them because I played with a few of them when I was in sixth year and they were in fourth year. It's getting more serious in Andrew's.

"They're coming down because I know when I was in sixth year there were a few times when lads wouldn't be turning up for training and things like that.

"But they're coming down harder on lads like that and I suppose when you see the likes of Andrew Porter doing well, the lads get a bit of a kick out of that and it probably motivates them to go and train and strive to do what he's doing now."

Sandwiched between Dublin's two big rugby-playing schools, St Michael's and Blackrock College, Larmour and Porter watched their neighbours win silverware throughout their school days but their success with Leinster is helping to encourage more young players to take up the sport at their alma mater.

"It's definitely a motivating factor," Porter admitted.

"Being able to represent a small rugby school compared to bigger schools like Blackrock or St Michael's. It was almost a driving factor to show what this little school can do.

"It was in my mind at the time. When I was trying to get recognised as a rugby player, not being in a big rugby school would that have affected me?

"Being able to push yourself in that way, not just myself but Josh van der Flier coming from Wesley, a school similar to St Andrew's, who have a big hockey influence.

"It's just being able to push yourself and drive yourself to get better."

Larmour was two years behind Porter in school and the tighthead prop recalled the exact moment he knew the electric back-three player was destined for the top.

"I remember watching him play in a junior game and he was running rings around people," Porter added.

"You kinda knew that he had that natural flair and ability about him.

"Seeing him grow as a person and as a player - it's amazing to see where he is now. Everyone in the school knew that he was destined for big things. It's great.

"I was in sixth year (for Senior Cup) and he was in fourth year and he slotted in just fine. Just like he is doing now.

"I think it's just his attitude. You always see him in the gym. If he's not working out in the gym, he's always slinging passes or working on his footwork.

"He's always pushing himself to get better and better. That on top of his natural ability is just making him a phenomenal player."

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