Saturday 25 May 2019

'Sometimes you've just got to say Wow' - Munster boss Van Graan blown away by Leinster star Jordan Larmour

Jordan Larmour leaves Ian Keatley in his wake on his way to scoring a superb second-half try in Leinster’s victory against Munster. Photo: RAMSEY CARDY/SPORTSFILE
Jordan Larmour leaves Ian Keatley in his wake on his way to scoring a superb second-half try in Leinster’s victory against Munster. Photo: RAMSEY CARDY/SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leo Cullen hailed Jordan Larmour's stunning solo try as one of the best he has ever seen as his Leinster side edged Munster in a pulsating derby clash.

With the game in the balance after 69 minutes, Larmour conjured up a moment of brilliance that brought the sold-out 26,267 crowd at Thomond Park to their feet.

The 20-year-old sealed the 34-24 victory for Leinster who completed the double over their old foes this season, to hand Johann van Graan his first defeat as Munster coach.

"Jordan popped up with as good a try as I've ever seen," a delighted Cullen said. "Pretty amazing, particularly in a fixture of this magnitude. Amazing bit of individual brilliance from him which extends out the score and we're able to take a sigh because I was getting a bit nervous before that.

"That's exactly what I told him to do before the game so I'm glad he obliged! Actually we were laughing about it because I said to him, 'Just go out and beat a load of defenders', and that's exactly what he did. It was an amazing try.

"He's like a bundle of energy. Every day he comes in and he's just incredibly competitive, and, yeah, he did well, it's fair to say. That's probably the biggest understatement of all time."

Van Graan was left disappointed by his side's first-half showing, which saw them trail 27-5 at the break but the South African was also full of praise for Larmour's unforgettable try.

"We could have worked on our kick, but sometimes you've just got to say, 'Wow'," the Munster coach admitted.

"I sat there and saw those feet and decision-making, sometimes we forget that there is an opposition team, so well done to them for scoring that try.

"I thought he was brilliant in the whole game. That's pretty special and the big moments went Leinster's way. He had a big part to play in it."

The South African added that he had no complaints about the result as he looks to narrow the current gap between the two heavyweights.

"I'm very impressed by them. I think in this PRO14 they are definitely the side to beat. We said in the changing room we know now where we are - 10 points behind them in this one and we were second best in the previous game.

"We need to adjust. We might see them late in the competition again but we have got a lot of hard work in front of us to get to their level."

Despite making 12  changes to the  side that beat Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup, Leinster were still able to put 34 points on Munster in their own back yard.

Not many teams come to Thomond Park and leave with a bonus-point victory, let alone a side that was without so many front-liners but last night's performance was another reminder of Leinster's strength in depth.

This time last year, several of the same younger players were sent packing from Limerick with their tails between their legs but there has been a marked improvement since, as Leo Cullen rightly pointed out. "It's really more of a reflection on the work that goes into players when they come into the sub-Academy and the Academy," the Leinster head coach maintained.


"Making sure that's as integrated as possible because we rely hugely on the young players over the course of the season. So when they step up, it's easier on them. It's something that we have worked very, very hard on.

"Every year they become more ready and better prepped so just trying to keep those connections strong is really important for us."

Ross Byrne epitomised that improvement with a measured performance that surely further stakes his claim for inclusion in an Ireland squad.

"Yeah, definitely, Ross has been an unbelievably solid force for us in many ways," Cullen said. "If you roll the clock back 12 months, there are a lot of guys who played in this game and learned a huge amount. Ross was one of them. Jamison Gibson-Park is another one. Dan Leavy, Jack Conan. So those four you think are 7-8-9-10.

"They are just trying to get better and that's all that we can ask of them. Ross has done that every week. He's doing it all the time. His game management and his appreciation of how to run the team - he is unrecognisable from this time last year."

Irish Independent

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