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Sunday 16 December 2018

J-La is newest kid on block

Blues star taking it all in his stride

SUPREME TALENT: Jordan Larmour has had a season to remember, and it’s not over yet. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
SUPREME TALENT: Jordan Larmour has had a season to remember, and it’s not over yet. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jordan Larmour is the newest of 'The New Kids on the Blue Block'.

The Grand Slam and Champions Cup winner has a lot to give and a lot to learn about the game.

For instance, last month, Leinster were completely dominating against Scarlets in the Champions Cup semi-final.

They were on the verge of palming salt into a red wound when Larmour called for the ball.

The wing was shunted into touch and immediately given a sharp-tongued reprimand by Jonathan Sexton which the out-half explained at the post-match press conference.

"He backs himself," said Sexton.

"He backed himself against 10 Scarlets with a six-man overlap (on the other wing)!

"So I said 'Did you call for the ball?'

"And he said, 'Yeah, yeah I did'.

"So he just didn't manage to beat one of them. But that's the beauty of it, I suppose.

"The young lads, they back themselves and I thought he had a great game in the second half."

They call it the innocence or exuberance of youth.

It can get you into trouble just as quickly as it can get you out of it.

The rookie mistakes, mostly made from wanting the ball - no matter what - have been overshadowed by those tries against Ulster at Ravenhill and Munster at Thomond Park.

Larmour will celebrate his 21st birthday on Ireland's tour to Australia on June 10, the night after the first test.

He is the latest in a long line of skilled-young-things to roll off the Leinster academy line.

When Rory O'Loughlin replaced Isa Nacewa for the second-half in the PRO14 semi-final, it meant James Lowe was the old man of the back division at the princely age of 25.

Luke McGrath, 25, Ross Byrne, 23, Garry Ringrose, 23, Jordan Larmour, 20, O'Loughlin, 24, and Joey Carbery, 22, completed the set of seven, averaging out at a month over 23 years of age.

Trust

It was, perhaps, the greatest indication yet of the trust Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have in these boys in blue.

It is just these 'New Kids' are already Ireland internationals, except for project player Lowe and out-half Byrne, who could well make it to Australia.

The stinging rebuke from Sexton to Larmour was just part and parcel of the trade-off between talent and inexperience.

"I kind of just try to take it in my stride and when there are new challenges there, it's exciting," he said.

"You're always going to make mistakes when you're playing at this kind of level and that's expected.

"It's just how you learn from those mistakes and get better. That's probably the most important thing."

Larmour's point-of-difference is that he can step off either foot with equal explosiveness.

"I've never really thought about being different," he responded.

Recently, Sean O'Brien shared the collective panic that can spread in defence at training when Larmour handles the ball.

The Tullow man has screamed out 'watch his feet, watch his feet' as a shield against being humiliated.

"I don't know about that, they probably humiliate me," said Larmour.

"My step and things like that is my strength so I definitely want to work on my strength."

When Larmour contemplated his goals at the start of the season, it shone a light on the progress he has made.

"I'd written down in my note book just to start in the B&I and get a few PRO14 games," he said.

"To be where I am now, if you told me that at the beginning of the season, I wouldn't have believed you."

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