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Ryan gets the green light off Schmidt

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After his try-scoring display against Sale, Dominic Ryan is hoping Leinster can maintain their winning ways. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

After his try-scoring display against Sale, Dominic Ryan is hoping Leinster can maintain their winning ways. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Dominic Ryan scored two tries for Leinster

Dominic Ryan scored two tries for Leinster

After his try-scoring display against Sale, Dominic Ryan is hoping Leinster can maintain their winning ways. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Dominic Ryan has Georgia on his mind. The Leinster flanker's fine form was confirmed by his Man of the Match award against Edinburgh on Friday night.

Previously, he had earned an entry into the Ireland training camp where there have been discussions with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt about where he sits in the back row rankings.

"Chatting to Joe, he said realistically Georgia would be the game he had in mind to play, while not promising anything.

"It is not a case of switching off until the Georgia game. It is about just keeping the foot on the gas," he shared.

"You never know what might happen," he said, about the November internationals.

"Ideally, I'd like to play in all the games. But, maybe, it's not something the senior management have on their map of the internationals."

A return to game time and to form have combined to place him at the table in terms of the national debate.

"You get given a little bit of cake and you want to eat the whole thing," he said.

"It's funny. If you told me I would be involved in the Ireland squad at the start of the season, I would have been absolutely delighted.

"When you get that close, you want it even more. It makes you greedy."

The juggernaut that is the Springboks is coming to town next Saturday to pose a monumental physical test.

"You have to take into account that you're together for two weeks leading up to an international when the South Africans have been in camp together for the last eight weeks.

"Straight away you're at a big disadvantage.

"It needs to be an intense environment because a lot of work has to be done and the quality of the work has to be very high. It is necessary.

"I've dealt with Joe in the past. I understand the standards he expects maybe a little more than some of the other provincial players coming in for the first time.

"I was prepared for that."

While there have been times when the Leinster openside's body has broken down, his confidence has never cracked and he was energised to play in the PRO12 League.

"Some of the Irish squad was released to play with the provinces.

"It's not a bad thing. I see that as a good thing. You can showcase your eagerness to impress."

Ryan has always held the belief that he is a match for anyone in the Irish back row.

"I think Georgia, at this stage, is a realistic target. After that, who knows?"

Ryan has been long enough at this game to know that it is dangerous to look too far ahead.

"The key thing in rugby is to be able to stay fit. If you can stay there week-in, week-out, be free for selection, it is important," he said.

"That is how I've had an opportunity this season with the likes of Jenno (Shane Jennings)and Jordi (Murphy) and Seanie (O'Brien) getting injured.

"It opens opportunities for players. It is about taking your chance when it comes".

It has all come together in the last two months, playing four times in September and four in October, all from the start.

He has found the rhythm he has been looking for, for so long. There have been four tries, two against Edinburgh, though he was quick to dismiss their value as forward pack tries from mauls.

"Maybe last year, I didn't get as much game time as I thought - I don't know if I can say - I deserved. I can't take it away from the lads who were playing really well last year.

"It is tough to keep the confidence really high when you're not playing games. That is the challenge of being a professional rugby player.

"You can mentally rehearse things in your head and look back at video footage of your good performances.

"I've been the highs, a couple of years ago, I've been through the low points with injuries, at the outside looking in.

"Now, it is one of those highs again."

He will know the secret is to take his game onwards and upwards, to measure the right time to serve up the monster hit, to know when to poach and when to stand-off at the breakdown.

"Over the course of a career, you have to be able to ride the highs and ride the lows, not get ahead of yourself and not get too low, try even it out over a long period."


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