Tuesday 21 November 2017

U-20 star Ringrose remaining focused on French test

Garry Ringrose
Garry Ringrose
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It has already been a massive 12 months for Garry Ringrose, and the Ireland U-20 star's rapid rate of progression shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Having been earmarked as a serious talent during his early schooldays in Blackrock College, the centre starred in their 2013 Senior Cup win before being drafted into the Leinster academy.

Nominated for World U-20 Player of the Year following his performances in last summer's Junior World Cup, during which he scored three tries, Ringrose spent time in Carton House with the Ireland squad in November and won plenty of admirers, including Joe Schmidt.

Speaking with the 20-year old, the way in which he comfortably deals with questions is something that far more experienced players could learn from.

"It's very exciting, kind of hectic but I'm just trying to keep my head down and focus on the next game," he says of the last 12 months.

"It was a good year for me but I learned a lot of harsh lessons. I'm not going to sit still or get comfortable.

"I'll be building on a lot of aspects of my game and then try and get that collective improvement around us and build on last year's Six Nations.

"Each training session, try and be better than when I started. There's a lot going on but in my head it's quite simple, I'm just focusing on each day."

Ringrose is by no means the finished product but he knows that himself, and despite being one of eight players retained from last year's U-20s Six Nations squad, there is no sense of complacency in the mindset of a player who is revelling in his more senior role.

"Nick (McCarthy) is captain but there's a kind of leadership being put together between about eight or nine of us," he admits.

Stepping

"Regardless of me having been there last year, there are a lot of new guys stepping up into leadership roles. Your previous experience doesn't really matter, because guys are putting their hands up."

This week's focus is very much on France as Ireland look to back up last week's 47-15 win over Italy at Dubarry Park tomorrow evening.

Head coach Nigel Carolan has made two changes, with Sam Arnold coming in to partner Ringrose in midfield, while Stephen Fitzgerald wins his first cap at this level on the wing in place of the injured Greg O'Shea.

"There is an abundance of talent and if there is an injury or form drops there is someone waiting to take that starting spot," Ringrose maintains.

"There is no-one immune to being dropped. There's a lot of excitement and we enjoy playing together, trying to play as attractive a brand (of rugby) as possible, given the conditions.

"We are excited but we are keeping our hands down and trying to do the simple things well."

Ireland U-20s (v France) - B Dardis; J Owens, G Ringrose, S Arnold, S Fitzgerald; R Byrne, N McCarthy (c); J Loughman, Z McCall, O Heffernan; D O'Connor, A Thompson; J Murphy, R Moloney, L Dow. Reps: A McBurney, M Lagan, C O'Donnell, C Romaine, N Timoney, J Cullen, J Carberry, F Cleary.

Irish Independent

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