Wednesday 24 January 2018

Driven Dillane surprised by fast start at Test level

Ireland's Ultan Dillane won his second cap on Saturday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland's Ultan Dillane won his second cap on Saturday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ultan Dillane is one of the success stories of this year's Six Nations for an Ireland team short on good news.

The Tralee native  burst on to the scene like a ray of light at Twickenham, breaking the line and storming through English defenders in a performance that suggested that he will be part of the national set-up for some time to come.

He won his second cap on Saturday and, while he found the going tougher, he still enjoyed a number of big carries and showed off his skill-set with some good hands to boot.

If those in the stands were surprised at how comfortable he looked in the Test arena, it sounds like he shocked himself a little bit with his promising start to life at the top level.

"To be honest, I don't think I would make this many line breaks in Pro12 for Connacht so I am not too sure what happened for me to be able to do it (in a Test match)," he said with a smile yesterday. "At Twickenham I was a fresh body coming on against tired bodies. I had a lot of nerves behind me that I might have channelled well.

"I have to learn to bank the memories to reproduce that. It was a great experience to get that 15 minutes (at Twickenham) and it flew on me the first time, but I learned big time last weekend how much tougher to get a few extra minutes on the pitch. Maybe Italy had us moving a bit more. I certainly realise the physical challenge that's out there."

Dillane has joined an elite club of Kerry internationals, but he has yet to get home to the Kingdom to soak up his success and his reason just demonstrates what a whirlwind success this Six Nations has been for the 22-year-old.

"I don't drive yet," he explained. "So I don't get home that often. My mom and my brother keep me posted on what everyone's mood is like down there. They're happy and I am looking forward to getting back and seeing the family."

Irish Independent

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