Ryan needs technical tweaks to avoid injuries
James Ryan may look like he's been hewn from granite, but Ireland's latest second-row star must accept his own mortality in order to avoid injuries.
That's the message from scrum-coach John Fogarty who believes the highly-rated 21-year-old has to readjust the way he takes contact to give himself a clear run in the Leinster team. So far, the former U-20s skipper has been neck and neck in terms of international and provincial involvement.
He might have made his breakthrough last season but for a serious hamstring injury and by the time Leinster were able to call on him he'd already been capped against the United States and Japan.
This season, he has come off the bench against South Africa and was handed a first start against Argentina despite starting just three games for his province. The next step is a run in blue.
"You have to look at the way he takes contact," Fogarty said.
"When he was 18 or 19 it was always on his terms and he always went through it. He is probably making adjustments or he will have to make adjustments going into the future with how he carries the ball.
"A little bit like how Joey (Carbery) carries the ball. These younger lads, they are going direct at contact. You see the older players make small adjustments in how they carry the ball. Some guys will carry very direct, some guys make subtle changes that help them stay injury-free, even do well to manage the contact better.
"James is one of those players who is in the process of adjusting from what he was as an underage player to senior international.
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"He has had to do it quite quickly and has adjusted unbelievably well and he fitted in perfectly, he's doing a great job, and is certainly someone for the future. From our point of view as coaches, we try to manage his contacts and see if we can make little changes to help him stay on the field for longer and be better in every contact.
"He is someone you want to keep a close eye on because he is very young and we want him in the game a very long time. He is going to have a big future."