Last summer Donnacha Ryan left Munster, to the dismay of the Irish rugby public. The 33-year-old talisman was a crucial fixture in the Irish second row and a massive player for Munster too. His inability to secure a central contract forced him to look abroad and he joined his former team-mate Ronan O'Gara at Racing 92.
Ryan's debut was subsequentially delayed because of a neck hernia. In his absence Racing 92 have enjoyed a decent season, currently 3rd in the Top 14. They take on Stade Francais today in what is a huge game for both teams after last season's merger debacle, which almost saw the clubs combine.
Stade Francais raced into a 24 point lead and the game was beginning to look like a blow-out. The Racing line-out had endured a mixed afternoon, they were getting blitzed out wide and Jules Plisson was deathly accurate from the kicking tee.
Ryan is easily identifiable due to his name printed on his shorts. Even at 24-0 down, there was one man visibly encouraging his team-mates to lift it:
Shortly after, Ryan latched onto So'otala Fa'aso'o to power over the line and land Racing's first score of the game:
Ireland do not enjoy a massive depth at second-row and it will be interesting to see what will happen should Ryan get a run of form prior to next year's Six Nations. It is highly unlikely Joe Schmidt recalls the Nenagh man, but there is little doubt he could still do a job if called upon.