prop life

Tighthead prop Ryan set for World Cup debut in all-Munster tight five

‘It’s something you dream of. I’ve had my wait like no other man in the team.’

JOHN RYAN HAS a bit of knowledge about Russia and it extends beyond the analysis of their rugby team he has been doing in recent days.

His college degree included some study of US foreign policy, where there was a bit of focus on the Cold War, although Ryan is more concerned with what the Russian scrum is going to throw at him tomorrow.

john-ryan Ryan will make his World Cup debut tomorrow. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The 31-year-old will make his World Cup debut at tighthead against the Russians in Kobe tomorrow, having had to wait until the third game of this tournament to finally get onto the pitch.

“It’s huge,” says the Cork man of the honour. “It’s something you dream of. I’ve had my wait like no other man in the team, the third game in and getting my first bit of the action. I’m looking forward to it now.”

Ryan and his team-mates watched Scotland sweat through their game against Samoa at the sweltering Kobe Misaki Stadium on Monday night, meaning they know what to expect of the conditions.

Ryan also knows what to expect from the players who will be around him at the scrum and lineout, with Joe Schmidt having selected an all-Munster tight five.

As Ireland look to bounce back from their shock defeat to Japan last weekend, the familiarity with his provincial team-mates should prove helpful to Ryan.

“Having a Munster front five is pretty good now, in fairness,” said Ryan. “It’s a five-day turnaround but you can’t claim that you don’t have familiarity with the lads around you so that’s one excuse gone out the window.

“I’m delighted to know the fellas to my left and behind me. Again, there are opportunities for some of those lads who haven’t been starting – an opportunity to get in for games down the line, hopefully.

“Knowing the players alongside you helps everything, knowing each other’s processes so if something’s going wrong, it’s not the end of the world. We know how to adapt. That’s the same for the lineout and around the pitch as well.”

john-ryan Ryan will be focusing on helping Ireland to a strong scrum display. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland had a down day on Monday, with Ryan jumping on a train to Kyoto with a few of his team-mates to check out Nishiki Market, where there are many culinary delights to be sampled.

Yesterday, Ireland were back into training in Kobe, as Schmidt’s men look to ensure they prove a point against Russia tomorrow.

Ryan has been spending time studying the Russia scrum, of course, including in their pre-World Cup friendly against Connacht. 

“They’ve done well in the World Cup so far but we have been looking further back and we all know that Connacht have a very able scrum.

“We saw they put it up to them and Italy as well so we know they’re well able, so it’s something that we need to back ourselves more on. I don’t think we’ve shown it yet so we need to drive on this week and get an upper hand there.”

Ryan starting is one of the 11 changes to Schmidt’s side for this clash and he understands the opportunity he has.

“I think every time you put on the jersey you are being told that you’re putting your hand up for selection for the next game, but lessons were probably learned last week. It’s the next game, it’s not the game after that, it’s the one that’s right in front of you. 

“Personally, I don’t need to be told that it’s an opportunity. If you perform, you can surely state your case. So I’m certainly not going to leave this one pass me by.”

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