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Thursday 24 January 2019

Nothing taken for granted

Ireland centre Ringrose has grown into a natural leader

COUNTDOWN: Garry Ringrose during Leinster training at Energia Park, Donnybrook Pic: Sportsfile
COUNTDOWN: Garry Ringrose during Leinster training at Energia Park, Donnybrook Pic: Sportsfile

"Where's your f**king pride?" The immortal call to arms of captain Ciarán Fitzgerald has been portrayed as a moment of inspiration that propelled Ireland to overcome England at a heaving Lansdowne Road to clinch the 1985 Triple Crown for the second time in four years.

This sort of base language is the last thing you would associate with Garry Ringrose.

The public face of the Leinster and Ireland centre is one of humility, focus and dedication.

These three branches of his personality do not camouflage the competitive edge and the undoubted leadership lurking inside the mild-mannered man.

When the polite 23-year-old walks across that white line, he morphs into a different animal.

Different animal

"I don't think I would describe myself as a different animal," he said. "I don't know whether team-mates might be able to give you a better answer than I would.

"I suppose I just try and do my (best) and, ultimately, try to give the best for the team.

"If something needs to be said, you don't try and overthink it. You just say what needs to be said.

"That could be the same with anyone in the group in that we have 'no rank'.

"It doesn't matter if you have 100 caps or one cap, if you feel what you have something to say that will contribute to the group, do not hold it back."

This growth in Ringrose's game has evolved naturally under the guidance of Stuart Lancaster.

"As younger guys, it might be easier to take a back seat and think other guys can control the direction of the team.

"When you have lads like James Ryan, it is important that they grab hold of it and be aware that it is their team as much as anyone else's."

In many ways, leadership is a non-negotiable from the outside centre position.

The gift of smart and alert communication is one of the pre-requisites of the difficult defensive slot in the game.

Ringrose knows there is no greater test than the one Toulouse will bring to The RDS on Saturday.

The increasing central role of Ringrose has led to more comfort in leading rather than just listening.

There is no room for mice when men are required to corral the likes of Cheslin Kolbe, Sofiane Guitoune and Romain N'Tamack (inset right).

"I'd be conscious myself to never get comfortable," he stated.

"Even after the year that I've managed to be involved in, it's important to never get comfortable. I think the competition within the group, certainly with Leinster and, then coming up, with Ireland makes me conscious not to get too comfortable and remember one has to fight for their place each week.

"If you take off that focus, it can go against you negatively.

"It is not trying to be overly distracted by being a leader. You just kind of do it and there is a natural progression."

Toulouse are just the next step along that path.

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