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'There's scope for him to grow his game' - The improvement that Luke Fitzgerald believes will make Jordan Larmour world-class

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Jordan Larmour of Ireland is tackled by Tomos Williams of Wales during the Six Nations match at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Jordan Larmour of Ireland is tackled by Tomos Williams of Wales during the Six Nations match at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Jordan Larmour of Ireland is tackled by Tomos Williams of Wales during the Six Nations match at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Considering that it was Jordan Larmour's flash of magic that broke the deadlock against Wales and provided Ireland with the platform to build their hugely impressive victory on, it would seem churlish to start picking holes in his performance. 

But there was one notable moment in the second half where a more experienced head could perhaps have released Jacob Stockdale a fraction earlier to leave the Ulsterman with a certain try. And ex-Ireland man Luke Fitzgerald believes that improving that aspect of his game is the key to the 22-year-old moving into the ranks of the world-class.

"I still think that there's scope for Larmour to grow his game. He's still young in terms of the position but he has all the abilities to do that," Fitzgerald told The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast.

"I think the realisation has to come from him when to link with great players like Stockdale going forward when they're in open space.

"There was one case in the second half, where Stockdale kind of got checked. It wasn't a great pass (from Larmour)and he was very flat, but he should have got the ball a half a second earlier and his depth was perfect if that was the case.

"Also remember, if you pass before contact your opponent can't take you out and tackle you, you can get back involved in the game and he's going to turn around.

"It's something from young players I see a lot that they don't actually release the ball early enough. It's okay to release the ball, remember you're still alive (in the game) and the guy who's defending you has to turn around and run and catch you.

"So it's okay to pass it just a slight bit earlier and make sure you don't check the guy. Make sure Stockdale or Conway or Earls are getting that in stride and attacking it at full pace.

"It's okay if you don't fix them the guy, you don't always have to fix them. I see lots of forwards making that mistake as well. It's amazing what happens when you pass the ball early enough and actually just remain in a support position."

In common with Larmour, Fitzgerald spent time for Leinster and Ireland in both the wing and full-back positions during his career. From the former player's perspective, improving that off-load timing will not only create more for others but open up further opportunities for Larmour to show the superb footwork he's becoming renowned for.

And the 34-times-capped 32-year old also believes that those combinations between Larmour at full-back and the rest of the back-line is vital in the creation of chances outside of Ireland's playmakers.

"You'll get the ball back from those guys. So if Larmour releases that one he could potentially get the ball back if he continues his run. He (Stockdale)'s an excellent chipper of the ball, we've seen him use that all the time, he chips the ball back infield," he explained.

"It actually brings all those grubbers and all that kind of stuff into play because you're all chasing, you're all still on your feet and they've got to turn around. It opens up all those options and it does give those guys a bit more space to attack people.

"And I think once we figure that out, once we can get the ball, it's playmaking outside of Johnny Sexton. It's can Ireland find that person who's going to be the link man to open up the pitch?

"If you can get just 10 metres of pitch all of a sudden, it's all open to you, they have to defend everything. They have to make a decision to come earlier to try and close it down, which means you can go over the top or you can use the crossfield, but also open up Larmour. And we can see these in those positions one on one he's so dangerous.

"The only way I think he ever really maximises his potential is by actually figuring out how to get the ball to his wingers. I think it gives him opportunities as well off them, he'll get the ball back a few more times. So I also think it opens him up for one on one opportunities.

"That's the bit of growth in this game that I think will take him to be a world-class player. Because I think that's his potential, I really do."

The Left Wing is produced in association with Land Rover

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