Saturday 21 April 2018

From Leinster A ambitions to Grand Slam winner in seven months - The rise and rise of Jordan Larmour

Jordan Larmour of Ireland celebrates with supporters
Jordan Larmour of Ireland celebrates with supporters

Cian Tracey at Twickenham

Before a ball was kicked this season, Jordan Larmour's primary aim was to secure a starting place in Leinster's 'A' team.

Seven months on, the 20-year old is a Grand Slam champion.

It has been a remarkable rise from the special talent who this time last year was playing for the Ireland U-20s.

The second half was barely 16 minutes old when Larmour was summoned from the bench and asked to play in a position that Joe Schmidt revealed he hadn't trained at, at all.

With heavy traffic coming down through the midfield channel all afternoon, Larmour seamlessly slotted in alongside Garry Ringrose.

During his school days with St Andrew's College, Larmour was a centre. Back then however, the game-plan was solely built around getting the speedster the ball as often as possible.

At Twickenham in front of over 82,000 people and with a Grand Slam on the line, this was an altogether different challenge.

"Jordan Larmour hadn't trained at 13 at all but we were going to put Joey Carbery at 10 so we knew we couldn't put him at 13,” Schmidt explained.

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"He's quite talented but he's not two people. Jordan found his feet very well; Keith Earls might disagree; he might have gone over in the corner. It's a great learning opportunity for Jordan."

For Larmour, today was the stuff of dreams but you wouldn't have known it by his reaction afterwards. He is taking everything in his stride and given that he has never lost with Ireland, he expects to win every time he steps onto the pitch.

"Yeah, it's pretty special," he enthused.

"I remember back to 2009 when I was at home watching the lads win the second Grand Slam. It's a pretty special feeling and to do it with this group of players is very special.

"It was very tough and physical, but having the likes of Garry Ringrose when I went into 13 because I hadn't got that many reps at 13 during the week, but having him was a big help. It was a tough game.

"At the start of the season if you told me I'd be in a Grand Slam-winning team, I wouldn't have believed you at all. It's been a very special year for me and it just shows that hard work can pay off.

"At the start of the season, I was just hoping to play with Leinster 'A' and maybe get a few caps with the Leinster senior team. To break into that team and kick on here is really special."

Larmour is certainly part of a younger group of players who have set incredibly high standards for themselves.

They now face the prospect of having a target on their backs every time they take to the field, but they won't be fazed by that.

"It's good to get this Grand Slam but this group has a lot more in us," Larmour insisted.

"We need to keep working and keep improving and building towards the World Cup. That would be the main goal but we have another Six Nations and then we have a summer tour.

"The focus shifts to the summer tour now and getting the work done so we can have a good tour.

"We have belief in ourselves and that's the main thing to have. It's a big thing to have - you have to have belief. With this group of players, everyone's work ethic and professionalism is immense and hopefully we can kick on from here."

An unbeaten record and a Grand Slam medal in his pocket, Larmour must think this professional rugby lark is all very easy.

"I don't know about that," he smiled.

"It's been a good season so far. I'm loving playing rugby at the moment so I just have to keep it that way."

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