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Paul O’Connell can be James Ryan’s encyclopedia to bring out best in future captain

Sinead Kissane


The more Ireland’s classy second-row can grow into the leader of this pack, the more important his influence on his team-mates will become

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Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell speaking with James Ryan (left) at the IRFU High Performance Centre last year before his appointment as forwards coach last month. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell speaking with James Ryan (left) at the IRFU High Performance Centre last year before his appointment as forwards coach last month. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former Ireland captain Paul O’Connell speaking with James Ryan (left) at the IRFU High Performance Centre last year before his appointment as forwards coach last month. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

If January showed us something about the most important of the least important things – as Jurgen Klopp might put it – it was James Ryan not putting up with a team-mate getting unnecessarily tied up in a ruck.

So it was for James Tracy in the 70th minute of Leinster’s game with Ulster at the RDS last month. Ryan was anticipating what Ulster were going to do next and he needed Tracy alongside him in the defensive line. “Tracy, get the f**k out of the ruck,” a red-faced Ryan roared.


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