Saturday 20 January 2018

Leinster lock Ryan lines out for Munster on injury return

A former Ireland U-20 captain, James Ryan has huge potential with Schmidt a long term admirer. Photo: Sportsfile
A former Ireland U-20 captain, James Ryan has huge potential with Schmidt a long term admirer. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

James Ryan, one of Leinster's most exciting young players, lined out for Munster's development side at Thomond Park over the weekend.

The powerful lock suffered a serious hamstring injury that required surgery last November and his shock inclusion for Munster against the Ireland U-20s increased the suggestion that he could be named in the Ireland squad, which will be announced tomorrow.

A former Ireland U-20 captain, Ryan has huge potential and Joe Schmidt, who is a long-time admirer, may be tempted to bring him on tour to the USA and Japan.

Ryan played an hour in Munster's 15-10 win and will have benefited from having Paul O'Connell as part of the coaching team.

The 20-year-old is currently in the Leinster Academy but will move to a full-time professional contract next season. Ryan has yet to make a senior appearance but he almost certainly would have had he not suffered the injury setback.

Tries from Liam O'Connor and Adam Moloney gave Munster victory as the Ireland U-20s continue their preparations for next month's Junior World Cup in Georgia.


Meanwhile, Warren Gatland has revealed that he wants injured Lions captain Sam Warburton to be held back from playing for Cardiff Blues in their European play-off matches.

Gatland wants the Wales flanker ready "to make a statement" as he leads out the team for the first game of their tour of New Zealand against the Provincial Barbarians at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.

Gatland insists the Lions need to start well as he believes that every opponent will see it as "a chance to make a name for themselves, do something special, create a bit of history" by beating the Lions.

This is despite the fact the head coach says this squad is "a lot stronger than 2009 and 2013 in terms of potential".

Warburton suffered knee ligament damage playing for Cardiff Blues against Ulster in early April. The Blues have a Champions Cup play-off semi-final against Stade Francais in Paris on Friday with the final taking place seven days later.

"It would be ideal for us if he didn't play for the Blues," said Gatland. "Sam thinks he is OK at the moment. The plan is that he will stay with us and do some hard conditioning work with contact."

Elsewhere, Owen Farrell was named the EPCR European Player of the Year, becoming the first player to receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.

Irish Independent

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