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'Johnny and Isa, they’ve been there before and know what it takes to win'

The impressively mature Garry Ringrose prefers to celebrate team-mates’ tries, rather than his own.

GARRY RINGROSE HAS a wise head on young shoulders – he’s still only 23 – and though he doesn’t come across as the most vocal of leaders, he has developed into an essential part of Leinster’s drive to return to the peak of the European game.

Speaking last week in the wake of Leinster’s impressive Champions Cup quarter-final win against Saracens, before he had the weekend off as his team-mates dispatched Zebre in the Pro14, Ringrose’s maturity shone through once again.

Garry Ringrose celebrates his try with James Lowe James Lowe celebrates Ringrose on his try against Saracens. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

He mentions that Joe Schmidt likes to talk a lot about “winning your next moment,” possibly without realising that he himself cites this mantra more frequently than his head coach in his dealings with the media.

Ringrose won plenty of moments against Sarries – his clever right-footed grubber kicks, intelligent defensive reads, rapid-fire footwork and more.

His pass and follow-up support play were rewarded with an early try as Isa Nacewa hit him back on the inside to streak clear under the posts. While James Lowe celebrated the score as exuberantly as ever – and with only the one boot on – Ringrose was reserved after dotting down.

“It’s not as if I’m consciously trying to keep emotions in, you’re just so focused on your next job that I’d be letting myself down if I was to score a try and then get too distracted and go and mess up on my next moment,” says Ringrose.

“You’re just motivated by your next moment, but thinking back I think if you looked closely at when the other lads scored maybe I was celebrating a bit more.”

Indeed, when we take a look back at Dan Leavy’s try, there is Ringrose as the fourth man to leap onto the openside in celebration.

Ringer

It says a lot about Ringrose that he feels happier when a team-mate scores than when he crosses the whitewash himself.

His real happiness two weekends ago, and that of the Leinster squad as a whole, came simply from the result.

Though they are playing an exciting and complete brand of rugby, the sole focus this season is winning.

“At the end of the day it’s kind of winning at all costs and that’s the attitude at Leinster,” says Ringrose. “It doesn’t matter how bad you played if you won, you’ve contributed in some shape or form so that’s kind of the attitude that we have here.”

Next up in the Champions Cup is the visit of the Scarlets to the Aviva Stadium in the semi-finals in two weekends’ time and while another Pro14 win over Benetton this weekend would keep the momentum rolling, a huge amount of confidence was taken from the victory over Saracens.

After two semi-final defeats last season, this Leinster group are still feeling the pain.

“It was driven by the coaches as well as the leadership group,” says Ringrose. “Some of those guys, Johnny and Isa, they’ve been there before and know what it takes to win.

Garry Ringrose Ringrose was speaking at the launch of the 2018 Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby summer camps. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“We’re under no illusion of the challenge that we face. It would have been disappointing if we didn’t win, considering how last year finished.

“There was that motivation – it was in the back of everybody’s minds. The fact that it was Saracens, the past two-time winners, made a difference. It was a performance that we felt was representative of the whole group as opposed to the 23 there.

“There were 30-40 training in the lead-up to it. That kind of preparation contributed to, not a perfect performance, but a performance against Saracens in which we did well to win with the quality they have.”

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Murray Kinsella

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