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Friday 26 May 2017

Stuart: it's time for Garry to find his voice

Ringrose has tall order to impress against Lions' Welsh centre Davies

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster wants Garry Ringrose to be more vocal on the pitch. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster wants Garry Ringrose to be more vocal on the pitch. Photo: Sportsfile

There has been Jonathan Joseph, for England in the Six Nations.

There has been Elliot Daly, for Wasps in the Champions Cup.

There will be Jonathan Davies, for the Scarlets in the PRO12 League semi-final on Friday night.

This is the list of stellar opponents Garry Ringrose has had to and will have to confront and overcome, despite losing out to all three for the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

"He is a different player to all three," said Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster.

Jonathan Davies will provide Garry Ringrose with a true test in the semi-final on Friday night. Photo: Sportsfile
Jonathan Davies will provide Garry Ringrose with a true test in the semi-final on Friday night. Photo: Sportsfile

"He is probably closer to Jonathan Joseph and Elliott in the way that he plays the game than Jonathan Davies.

Mentally

"A top player is strong mentally, has a technical ability and the physical gifts that allow him to play at that level and Garry has all three, no doubt in my mind."

There is a lot of water to pass between now and the tour to the southern hemisphere.

The Irish centre is presumed to be on standby and available for the call from Warren Gatland should one or more centres come unstuck between here and there.

"The more he grows and the more experienced he gets, the more confident he looks," said the ex-England coach about the 22-year-old.

"The more he finds his voice in training, the more he finds his voice on the field."

The naturally understated, soft-spoken centre has had to turn into a test match animal to survive in the theatre of dreams made and shattered everywhere, from Lyon to the home of Leinster.

"That's what I've been on to him about, finding his voice so that he becomes a natural leader rather than being the respectful guy who does what he is told.

"He has got to dominate now and that is the step he has taken, at the moment," added Lancaster.

Life at the top end of the game is no bed of roses, more landmines and ambushes where reputations can be exploded or, at least, temporarily taken hostage.

Ringrose is far too humble, far too sensible to look more than one game ahead.

He has the Scarlets in his sights and the focus is clear.

"They are in a rich vein of form, at the moment," he said.

"They have put up some cracking results, one most recently against the Ospreys just gone.

"Even away from home, they managed to turnover Munster.

"There are not many teams in Europe or the Pro12 who have managed to do that.

"We are well aware of the challenge that is coming to the RDS."

The west Wales club is in superb form, recording 17 League wins from their last 19 rounds to find the remedy to their three losses in the opening three rounds.

"What defines a team's season is the silverware you finish with," said Ringrose. "It was pretty tough watching Saracens lift the European Cup at the weekend.

"It is something that we would have been striving for as a team. Now, we have a crack at winning silverware in the Pro12. That starts on Friday and that's all I'm thinking about."

The Scarlets means Jonathan Davies and that means 105 kilos, or 16-and-a-half stone, of trouble for Ringrose.

"Where do I start? He's an incredibly intelligent footballer," he said about the Wales international.

"He has a skillful pass off both hands as well as a good little grubber kick with his left foot.

"If his team are being put under a lot of defensive pressure, he can turn you straight away.

"People sometimes focus on his physical attributes, he is a big guy and a really fast athlete.

"But he does have the skills to back it up so he really is a tough challenge."

Round one of this particular duel took place in the Six Nations at the Principality Stadium.

"I am looking forward to having another crack at him, another go at the challenge of playing against him."

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