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Thursday 20 June 2019

Garry looking good

Ringrose on course to make it back for Italy

Garry Ringrose at the launch of the new Gillette Skinguard Sensitive in Dublin yesterday
Garry Ringrose at the launch of the new Gillette Skinguard Sensitive in Dublin yesterday

Garry Ringrose has been there, done that. Just two years ago, the outside centre made his Six Nations debut against Scotland at Murrayfield.

It was a meteoric rise from his Ireland debut against Canada in November 2016 to going at it against New Zealand one week later and Australia the next.

Coach Joe Schmidt immediately recognised the rugby intellect that has taken Ringrose this far.

The centre's introduction to the big time in the Six Nations came with a gut-punch.

The day Ireland never got off the bus against Scotland became a lesson in humility for Irish rugby's most humble servant.

The hamstring strain that made Ringrose unavailable to face the Scots last week should be healed by the time Italy come into view in Rome on Saturday week.

The emptiness of losing to England had to be mulled over for longer than many others due to the injury.

"I think after losing a game, you really want to get out and play a game because you know, almost immediately, things you could have done better.

"I was denied that opportunity," said Ringrose. "I was delighted to see the lads win away in Scotland.

"I was there two years ago for my first Six Nations game which wasn't the best day - we lost.

"I have an appreciation for how tough it is to go over to Murrayfield.

"It is not to be under-estimated, the significance of that win and how tough it would have been for the lads.

"To see them do it, I was delighted."

While Ireland were busy exorcising demons, Ringrose was back at Leinster doing everything in his power to get back to full fitness. He stayed at home in Dublin, looking on helplessly at the unfolding drama in Edinburgh.

"When you are in and then you are out, sitting, watching on tv, it can be easy to criticise," he said.

"I just thought about the effort the lads put in defensively, especially when Scotland were on Ireland's line a couple of times to hold them out the way they did.

Moments

"For one, there was Rory Best scrambling off a lineout to the corner.

"Then, there was another one by Keith Earls on Strauss in the corner, where you could see what it means to the lads.

"It is great seeing moments like that, that ultimately led to the winning of the game."

It wasn't a day for weaving pretty patterns around Scotland's defence. Ireland earned everything they got in blustery conditions.

"Scotland's defence was very good and those holes were hard to come by," he said.

"I think it was just the nature of the game, a bit of an arm wrestle.

"I know from experience that the work the lads are putting in, that they may not be running really wide or spreading it wide.

"They are working tooth and nail for every inch, whether it's at the ruck or working into space."

The same attitude will have to be taken to Rome, where Ireland have usually had far too much for the Italians.

Indeed, it was there two years ago that Ringrose savoured his first victory in the Six Nations, one week after the Scottish dressing-down.

The destination of the championship is out of Irish hands now.

They would be best advised to finish strongly in the three remaining rounds to leave a positive imprint going into the World Cup.

Ringrose will countenance nothing more than looking straight ahead, into the eyes of the Italians

"From the Italian clubs, playing them, how much they have improved and then seeing Italy against Wales, they left two or three tries out there.

"That scoreboard could have been different," he said.

"You just can't look past them or underestimate them.

"When I was there two years ago, it was an enjoyable day.

"That's because we knuckled down and focused solely on them and just worried about beating them.

"It's just more of the same really and not getting too focused or even considering anything beyond that."

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