Today Ireland secured a magnificent position in the Six Nations with a 28-8 win over Scotland. It was a highly accomplished performance, but praise must go to their outstanding 13, Garry Ringrose.
Irish rugby has an unfortunate history of injuries ensuring a drop of productivity. Every time a key player gets injured, the end result is a slight but crucial dip in line speed, or penetration or set-piece solidity.
That trend has been categorically ended this year, and it is thanks to the phenomenal depth built up over the past three years. Whether it be wingers, props, in the back-row or in the centre Ireland now have options in an entirely unprecedented way.
A player that embodies that is Garry Ringrose. The Leinster man has not featured in an Irish jersey for nine months, since the summer tour against Japan. He suffered a shoulder injury in July, In January he damaged his ankle after just thirteen minutes on the pitch. Here was a 23-year-old who previously had never missed a game, schools, academy or as an Irish underage star, through injury. Two serious blows in six months.
Yet after back-to-back injuries to Robbie Henshaw and then Chris Farrell, Ringrose was called upon. Suddenly we were reminded why Ringrose was one of the most eagerly anticipated young stars in Irish rugby a little over a year ago.
Great to have Garry Ringrose back in an Irish jersey. Unbelievable contribution to that try
— Rúaidhrí O'Connor (@RuaidhriOC) March 10, 2018
Good stuff from Ringrose there. He's slotted back into test rugby fairly seamlessly #IREvSCO
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) March 10, 2018
Scotland not afforded the freedom of Dublin at the breakdown today. Barnes’ eye making it a v different scenario to Murrayfield. This is an exceptional Ireland side. Loving Ringrose‘s return. Class.
— Alastair Eykyn (@alastaireykyn) March 10, 2018
— Paul Mulrone (@PaulMulrone) March 10, 2018
Ringrose has a step and ability to thrive in tight spaces that guarantee go forward ball. His pace and technical skill is obvious and routinely praised, but what was most striking today was his aggression.
His obvious refusal to accept the gain-line quickly dispatched any fears of a loss in ball-carrying options with the absence of Henshaw and Farrell. Ringrose is a man who seems to enjoy all aspects of play and the fact he did so with so little game time is a testament to his attitude.
He was crucial in the lead-up to Ireland's second try.
With England on the horizon, there will now be concern over Ringrose's finish to the game as he visibly limped during the closing moments. Today he delivered a timely reminder of his obvious ability and more importantly demonstrated the bright future that awaits Irish rugby.