Tuesday 19 March 2019

Prop Porter and wing wizard Larmour savour special day in D4

DEBUT: Jordan Larmour Pic: Sportsfile
DEBUT: Jordan Larmour Pic: Sportsfile

It was all set to be the debutant's ball for 20-years-old Jordan Larmour. Instead, the garlands were placed around the thick neck of Andrew Porter, who will be 22 years of age on Friday.

This is the way of the modern game, the rookies making the headlines as Ireland move on to Wales in two weeks.

When Tadhg Furlong pulled up lame with a hamstring strain, Porter was sprung from the bench on three minutes. It was a baptism of fire that burned bright for 77 minutes.

To put this in perspective, Furlong has played more minutes than that just once from his 21 caps when playing all 80 against Wales last year.

"I was a bit shocked to be coming on after three minutes but that's what Joe has us prepared for.

"You have to be ready to come on in the third or the 53rd minute. That's what he wants from us."

It is one thing to prepare for it; another to play it out.

"It was a bit of an adrenaline rush when I did come on," said Porter.

"It was great to get that many minutes under my belt, especially in my first Six Nations."

The prospect now moves on from Porter's first appearance in the Six Nations to the possibility Furlong won't be there for Wales.

This reduces Joe Schmidt's options to the St Andrew's phenom, who carried thirteen times against Italy, or Munster's John Ryan.

The tight-head's first involvement was to grab a high pass from Conor Murray and motor into contact in a superior athletic action.

"Ah, yeah. I wouldn't be pointing fingers at Conor Murray or anyone.

"You've got to be ready for anything and everything."

The claim that Ireland has "unmatched" depth is a conversation for another day, maybe even the next day.

Strength in depth

"Our strength in depth is something we pride ourselves on," he said.

"It's terrible to see two of your team-mates going down like that but out strength in depth is incredible."

This was supposed to be reflected in the introduction of Larmour in the 45th minute for Robbie Henshaw.

What evolved was a lesson in how international rugby is a serious step up from the PRO14 League and the pool phase of the Champions Cup.

The missed tackle on full-back Matteo Minozzi for a try and positioning issues were the growing pains of a debut-maker.

"I suppose I'd look at mistakes a lot," he said "In training, I try to get into similar positions and try not to make the mistake because you need to look at them, learn from them and grow from them.

"That's a very big part, especially because I'm young and I want to be the best I can be.

"I need to learn from the mistakes I make."

There was a moment of magic that hinted at the future ahead.

In the last minute, Larmour took a pass from the base of a ruck from Porter.

From a standing start, he turned prop Andrew Lovotti and centre Tommaso Castello inside out, leaving both of them floundering on the ground.

It was a move reminiscent of Welsh wizard Shane Williams.

For, that is the man Larmour most resembles when on the ball.

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