Friday 18 January 2019

Garry only has eyes for French giants

Ringrose and Henshaw getting better together

Leinster's Garry Ringrose
Leinster's Garry Ringrose
Leinster's Robbie Henshaw is tackled by Zebre's George Biagi

Garry Ringrose is about as humble as apple crumble. It is not an act. It is just the new breed of thinking, of being professional.

It is a commitment to a regimented lifestyle outside of which all else pales.

The commitment to work, to learn has to be there or someone else will step into your boots and take them with them.

"I don't know, trying to improve each day is the mindset that gets me through," said Ringrose.

"Any opportunity I get whether it is in training or a gym session, it is to try and be better at the end of it than I am at the start.

"The focus hasn't shifted too much from that, listening to the leaders in the group.

"It is about learning off them and the coaches and how you can improve in their eyes."

The long-term injury to Ireland's Jared Payne was met with immediate and understandable concern.

The defensive lynchpin and chief-communicator will not be back for the Six Nations.

Next up

This moved the eyes of Joe Schmidt onto Ringrose as the next man up.

The first cap came against Canada, the next two against New Zealand and Australia.

"I was over the moon to get the opportunity I did during Autumn," he said.

"I was trying, as much as possible, to take learnings from that for experience and bring it into my game.

"That's the challenge I have now to take that experience and turn it into something beneficial for Leinster."

The next two weeks in The Champions Cup, especially at home to Montpellier on Friday, will tell Schmidt everything he already knows.

The truth of the matter is there has never been a doubt about the 21 year-old's attacking instincts.

However, the lean, clean, tackling machine has shown the timing, accuracy and tenacity in defence that has sealed the number thirteen shirt.

The boy is simply intelligent.

"After coming up against Kuridrani in that Australian game, I learned how to deal with a physical specimen like that.

"Montpellier aren't short of size in their team."

The budding relationship with Robbie Henshaw is on the right path. Increasingly, they seem to be sharing the same wavelength, most notably in how they get into position to exchange offloads.

"I certainly feel lucky to play outside him," continued Ringrose. "You forget how young he is because of the experience he has.

"It is a great opportunity for me, personally, to get a chance to play alongside him."

They will have to be in synchronisation to cope with Montpellier's litter of big men.

Sometimes looking back in review at the defeat in France in October can be of benefit for planning ahead.

"There were challenges presented that day. It was just about learning from it.

"There were leaders in the group, like Isa (Nacewa), stepping up and keeping the calm. The game was out of our sights. It was about narrowing the focus and coming away with a point."

It says everything about the trust of Stuart Lancaster that Ringrose has the licence to make the risky read for Leinster.

Like a sniper waiting in the long grass, he has been given the nod to act alone or, at least, in isolation.

"I wouldn't quite say act alone," he said.

"Some of the reads I make are as a result of the work that's going on around me, whether that's Robbie inside me or the winger on my outside talking to me, giving me that security and read time to feel safe.

"I know if it goes wrong, there are two guys either side of me covering my back."

Ringrose has often taken the view that it is better to shoot up and cut down the big men before they get into top gear.

"It varies in the opportunities I get and the picture I see.

"We will certainly close down the space of their big ball-carriers and the really elusive centres that Montpellier have.

"We will try to minimise their time on the ball, if that is possible."

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