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Ringrose letting physique follow all-round improvements as he aims to settle a score

The 21-year-old is making sure to avoid prioritising physical improvements over skills.

SIXTEEN FULL DAYS on from a chastening experience in Belfast, Garry Ringrose is one of the Leinster contingent who definitely still feels sore.

At least mentally, if the physical bruising has now receded.

“There was one shot…” begins Ringrose when asked if there was any particular personal imbalance he would like to redress when the rivalry with Ulster is renewed in Friday’s Pro12 semi-final at the RDS.

“Andrew Trimble got a good shot in on me. One of my mates was saying I could take comfort knowing I wasn’t the first person he’d done that to. He’s a top quality winger, one of the best in the world at defending.”

Trimble

Ringrose is keeping wise counsel, when Trimble lines up a hit, he doesn’t discriminate. The wing can be seen ploughing through slow-passing second rows almost as often as his fellow outside backs.

As a young and – next to the boshing power of Robbie Henshaw, Ben Te’o or Stuart McCloskey – comparatively lightweight centre, Ringrose will find himself in Ulster’s sights again at the RDS. It’s not a position that unduly fazes him however, and while he is growing into the illustrious number 13 jersey, he is careful not to let his physical development get in the way of his innate gifts.

It’s kind of a balancing act for me. I haven’t got to the stage I am by being a battering ram, or a physically imposing centre, so it’s good to maintain those skills – agility, stuff like that – while also developing physically to add that element to my game.”

More important than his development in the gym and the ascent to 93 kilos, is the knowledge and nous he is accruing from a long season in the Leinster first team.

“It’s a new challenge I’m faced with every week. Whether it’s away to Dragons, Scarlets, playing in Thomond Park or Bath in the RDS: it’s all new to me.

Garry Ringrose Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I’m excited by the challenges, but it’s tough and you have to try and learn as much as possible. It’s hard to single any one thing out (that he has improved since starting the season), because it seems every week it’s something new you have to work on and improve on.”

The 21-year-old adds: “Any player wants to become the most well-rounded player possible. For me it’s trying to keep developing skills, but then playing catch-up a bit on the physical development side of things.”

Ringrose isn’t able to pinpoint any element of his own game that has dramatically changed since becoming Leo Cullen’s first-choice outside centre, but he has witnessed a collective shift since the drubbing in Belfast on 30 April. A 24-point defeat which came after Jonathan Sexton was openly critical of what he viewed as slipping standards in the environment.

“I wasn’t here when he was here last. So I’m not quite sure of the comparisons he’s drawing,” Ringrose says with a broad smile.

“But there is a ramp-up in attitude after the Ulster defeat. The fact it was a provincial derby and the result itself… we weren’t too pleased afterwards.

We’ll do whatever it takes to reverse that and turn 24 points around. One of those could be ramping up the attitude in training and meetings. I think he’s just trying to demand and bring the best out of everyone around him like he usually does, and does so well.

“We weren’t too proud of our performance and how things went, but looking at them and their recent results I don’t think it’s going to faze them too much. I don’t think they’re going to be cocky or consider themselves favourites. It’ll be a huge challenge and one we’re relishing.”

Bruises healed, an inter-pro rematch on the horizon and a breakthrough season that is only two games away from being furnished with a trophy.

“It’s crunch time.”

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Sean Farrell

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