Wednesday 18 September 2019

'It was one of the toughest games I had to watch. The lads came in Sunday and they were certainly quite low'

James Ryan at Carton House in Maynooth, Kildare. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
James Ryan at Carton House in Maynooth, Kildare. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Des Berry

These uncertain times call for Ireland’s leaders to step up and, perhaps, James Ryan knows this is the time, despite his tender years, to emerge as a voice of reason, optimism and even hope.

He has had to sit silently by and watch as his colleagues have taken a pounding in the last three days.

The problems that existed throughout the 2019 Six Nations do not appear to have been fixed.  

"I don’t think the squad is broken, certainly not today," said the 23 year-old out in Carton House on Tuesday.

"It was one of the toughest games I had to watch. The lads came in Sunday and they were certainly quite low.

"Today and yesterday has been about learning what went wrong.

"It is important that we channel that emotion in the right direction." 

The problems that jumped out from the television screen are those in which Ryan is heavily involved – the defence and the lineout.    

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"They are among the two biggest areas we need to improve on," he acknowledged.

"Defensively, as Joe (Schmidt) probably pointed out, we missed 34 tackles - we missed a lot in the first-half.

"That’s an easy fix, if you’ve got the right mindset.

"With the lineout, it’s been a strength for us in the past. It definitely wasn’t at the weekend.

"From a forwards’ perspective this week, a big focus on that has been on getting it right."

This is where the democratic value of collective responsibility kicked in.

"It’s never down to one person," he claimed.

"Sometimes when you look at an average throw, it is because the lift isn’t right or the movement isn’t what it needs to be or has been that week.

"It is our process right across the board in that regard. It’s been a big focus, trying to sharpen that up."

There is no better way to concentrate the minds than to turn thoughts towards the number one nation in the world and the send-off The Principality will want to give to their own departing coach.

"Wales will certainly be very motivated. It’s Warren Gatland’s last home game," stated Ryan.

"They are a very passionate country. We’ve got to make sure we bring our own emotion this week.

"Hopefully, we can bring the hurt from the weekend and channel that in the right way.

"It’s great for the guys that are picked and have an opportunity to play."

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