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Dublin: 0°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Ringrose has Lions ambitions but first focus is return from injury with Leinster

The Ireland centre hopes to be back in action for the Champions Cup games in December.

Garry Ringrose was launching Aviva’s Ireland’s Call competition.
Garry Ringrose was launching Aviva’s Ireland’s Call competition.

IT’S NOT QUITE Kanye West’s ‘Through the Wire’ but Garry Ringrose is speaking with a couple of screws and a plate in his jaw.

The Ireland and Leinster centre suffered the break during last month’s Six Nations game against Italy, his attempt to block down Edoardo Padovani’s kick leaving him in the line of fire as the Italian wing’s knee connected directly. 

“It hit the sweet spot,” says Ringrose, “the sweet spot for all the wrong reasons.”

The break was clean and instantly the 25-year-old felt his jaw was “hanging a bit,” even if that didn’t stop him from attempting to get back downfield and into play. One of the Ireland medical team had to restrain him.

Ringrose’s game was over and so was his autumn campaign, the injury and subsequent surgery two weeks ago meaning he will almost certainly miss the upcoming Autumn Nations Cup. Like the rest of us, he will be watching from the couch on Friday night as Andy Farrell’s men face Wales at the Aviva Stadium.

At least the pain in his jaw is now subsiding.

“For the first couple of days post-op, it was uncomfortable, the swelling was big – it looked I had a hockey ball in there – but it’s been pretty good for the last week.”

Ringrose is still on a liquid diet that consists of lots of smoothies and protein shakes, as well as blended meals and soups. His mum and girlfriend – as well as Ireland and Leinster’s nutrition experts – have been helping him keep on top of his need to hit a high calorie count, given his habit of losing weight when he’s out injured.

So far he’s only been able to do walks and bike rides but Ringrose is looking forward to building some intensity into his training from next week as he accelerates down the road towards recovery with a clear goal in mind in December.

edoardo-padovani-clashes-with-garry-ringrose Ringrose broke his jaw last month. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

He will almost certainly miss the Autumn Nations Cup campaign in its entirety but is hoping to return for his province’s opening two Champions Cup pool games on 11/12/13 December and 18/19/20 December.

“There’s those European games with Leinster, so that’s certainly a target but I’m meeting the surgeon and reviewing with him each week to make sure that things are progressing and I’ll go on that basis as well.

“Leinster won’t let me go out there unless they feel I’m ready to play but that is certainly a target of mine.”

Any injury is frustrating but all the more so for Ringrose given how his Six Nations campaign was also disrupted by a thumb injury earlier this year.

The outside centre has been in superb form any time he has played over the last year or so. Ireland definitely missed him in Paris two weekends ago as they came up short in their closing Six Nations game.

But Ringrose is looking ahead with a positive mindset.

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“It was tough initially, I would have been annoyed and angry with the circumstances but then you look at the likes of Jordan Larmour who is out for a couple of months, Max Deegan has a few more months again, so that puts it into perspective for me.

“I want to attack the next few weeks, so the big thing is to get the go-ahead from the surgeon to get back training at a more intense level. It will be similar to lockdown in terms of targets and improvements from a strength perspective.

“When you’re playing games week in, week out, you maybe don’t get the same exposure to that side of things. Then you have your aerobic fitness, speed, acceleration, all the things you have a bit more time and physical capability to work on because you’re not playing a match on the weekend.

garry-ringrose-makes-a-break Ringrose hopes to return for Leinster next month. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Then there’s the mental side of the game in terms of watching it, learning, trying to figure out trends, seeing where opportunities are. It’s a chance to grow in pretty much every aspect.”

Getting back for a couple of big Leinster games in December is motivation enough and there is plenty more for Ringrose to target in the future.

The 2021 Six Nations isn’t far off and there is a Lions tour scheduled for next summer in South Africa too.

Ringrose was close to making the 2017 tour under Warren Gatland and there is little doubt he will be a very strong contender to feature in next year’s trip.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a major ambition to be involved in something like the Lions and it would have been a dream from when I was a kid watching,” says Ringrose.

“I can imagine that’s the same dream almost every professional rugby player has, so I’m no different in that regard.

“But my focus and energy and attention would be on the immediate. I’m injured now so that changes the picture but you want to just evolve and grow as best you can and then win come the weekend.

“I obviously have ambitions like everyone but 100% of my focus and attention will be on the immediate and how I can get better now, how I can add value to Leinster or Ireland now. Everything that’s out of my control in the future will take care of itself if I focus on the immediate.”

Garry Ringrose was launching Aviva’s Ireland’s Call competition. Aviva are giving lucky fans across the country the chance to sing Ireland’s Call alongside Andy Farrell’s team ahead of their game this Friday against Wales in the Guinness Series. To take part, please email stating why you would love the chance to sing Ireland’s Call alongside the Irish Rugby Team.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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