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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 15 August, 2018
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'He'd step you in a phone box' - Larmour clamour continues to grow

The Leinster fullback scored two tries against Ulster at the RDS.

Murray Kinsella reports from the RDS

FROM HIS VERY first touch, it was noticeable.

The ball arrived into Jordan Larmour’s hands and that unmistakable frisson rippled around the RDS. There aren’t many players who spark this kind of humming excitement even before they have acted, but there is no doubt that the 20-year-old is among them.

Still a member of Leinster’s academy, Larmour’s rise has been rapid and impressive. He remains the new kid on the block – to the extent that Les Kiss had to check his pronunciation of ‘Larmour’ was correct post-match – but the clamour for his inclusion in Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations squad will only grow after tonight.

Jordan Larmour scores a try that was the disallowed Larmour crosses for his second try against Ulster. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

With two tries and an array of other incisive contributions, Larmour lit up an inter-provincial clash that saw Leinster comprehensively dismantle Ulster on a 38-7 scoreline to secure their third win from three consecutive Guinness Pro14 inter-provincial clashes.

It’s not just among supporters that the excitement is spreading. Down in the changing rooms in the Anglesea Stand, the coaches and players involved in this game couldn’t hide their admiration for Larmour.

Scott Fardy, the former Wallabies and Brumbies forward, has played with some of the game’s best young players during his career but he ranks Larmour alongside them.

“He’s right up there and he’s hard to stop,” said Fardy. “He’d step you in a phone box and he’s got some great feet and really good wheels. He’s right up there.”

Les Kiss’ Ulster side were cut open by Larmour several times in this tie but the Australian director of rugby had only positive words about the youngster.

“He’s a class player and he’s in a vein of form,” said Kiss. “Jacob [Stockdale], we haven’t seen it the last couple that he’s been here, but he was very similar for us over a period of a year there.

“But this Larmour boy is certainly dangerous, whether he’s got acres of space to work with or very small spaces to work with. He just challenges your defensive shoulder and I’d even say he’s got that vein of form where whatever you do it bounces into your hands – that little chip kick where we should have killed the ball but he gets the ball back.

“He’s in a special place at the moment and he deserves every accolade that’s coming his way. He’s an exceptional rugby player.”

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring a try Larmour was a thorn in Ulster's side throughout. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Larmour’s Leinster boss, Leo Cullen, is probably keen to avoid the hype spilling over in the coming months, but he too underlined the former St. Andrew’s College student’s potential.

Intriguingly, Leinster are still trying to figure out what Larmour’s best position is.

“He’s a very, very exciting talent for sure and he’s another player where… what is his best position as well?” said Cullen. “He’s very versatile; he’s played on the wing for us, he’s played in the centre even in the game against Ulster in Belfast.”

“He’s been playing 15 obviously the last few weeks so he’s got a bit of versatility and, again, he’s just incredibly talented.”

Cullen pointed out that Larmour’s form means he and his coaching team have some interesting selection discussions ahead this week, with Champions Cup ties against Glasgow and Montpellier to come in the next fortnight.

The competition for places out wide is intense. And though Larmour will be keen to nail down a Leinster place first, the chat on the outside will be about potential involvement with Ireland in the upcoming Six Nations.

Joe Schmidt has been a fan of Larmour’s for some time and he has already trained with the senior national side on a number of occasions, but it will be fascinating to see if the Kiwi head coach feels Larmour is ready to be named in an official squad.

Does Cullen think Larmour is ready for Test rugby?

“You guys can make your own calls.”

Jordan Larmour scores a try Larmour's second came late on in the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

One thing Cullen is pleased to comment on is that Larmour’s attitude towards improving is exemplary.

“Every day he comes in and he’s constantly working on various different skills and he’s very competitive, always looking at different games. He’s a ball of energy and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

The excitement around Larmour will roll on in the coming days, while Leinster will now turn their focus towards hosting Glasgow next weekend.

Amidst the many positives in their victory over Ulster, there were injuries to Tadhg Furlong, Garry Ringrose and James Tracy.

The Ireland tighthead failed his half-time HIA and was replaced, while Ringrose damaged his ankle and hooker Tracy picked up an injury to his elbow.

There was no further clarity around the injuries or possible timelines immediately post-match at the RDS, but Leinster and Schmidt will be waiting on the medical updates with hope.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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Murray Kinsella

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