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'I think the first person that ever mentioned Jordan Larmour to me was Joe'

Johnny Sexton says he would like to see his Leinster team-mate in Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

THE NAME ON everyone’s lips around these parts, so much so that the opening question at a rare Johnny Sexton media appearance this morning was about Jordan Larmour.

It’s becoming increasingly hard not to talk about the prodigiously talented 20-year-old, and as he produces eye-catching performances and bangs on the international door, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Joe Schmidt to ignore his case for inclusion in Ireland’s Six Nations squad.

Jordan Larmour scores a try Larmour has been one of the outstanding performers this season. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Already considered an exciting talent before the recent inter-provincial series, no player lit up the Christmas period more than Larmour, who added another brace of tries to his ledger during a virtuoso display against Ulster last Saturday.

It’s hard not to be truly excited by Larmour’s ability and potential, so rare it is for a young player of his calibre to produce such outstanding performances having only made his debut at the start of this season.

A player blessed with electric footwork, raw pace and a natural eye for the try line, the clamour for the former St Andrew’s College man to be included in Ireland’s Six Nations squad is growing louder by the week.

Schmidt is a known admirer of Larmour having called him into Ireland camp at Carton House during his time with the U20s this time last year, while the head coach was also in attendance at Templeville Road back in August when the former schoolboy hockey international came off the bench to grab two tries in the pre-season win over Gloucester.

It was that second-half cameo which also caught the eye of Sexton, who had only previously seen Larmour in last year’s U20 Six Nations, during which he stood out as Ireland’s best player of the campaign.

“I think the first person that ever mentioned Jordan Larmour to me having not heard of him was Joe,” Sexton explained.

“I had seen him a little bit in the U20 Six Nations last year and I thought he was outstanding but again you kind of take that as it is and it wasn’t until this year when I saw him in a Leinster jersey in the summer against Gloucester. He stood out a mile that day and he’s stood out since.”

So, do you feel he’s ready to for international rugby?

“I’m not too sure, to be honest,” the Leinster out-half replies. “You’ve just got to go on what we’ve seen and he’s been outstanding for us so far every time he has played.

“When you play international rugby no matter what position you play in I suppose your weaknesses is going to be exposed because it’s such a high pressurised environment. It’s tough and there’s no weaknesses in opposition and you’ve got to try and force weaknesses out of them.

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“It’s tough going and all of us have learned that in the hard way. Like I said, he’s been very impressive for us so far, he’s been in Irish camps before as a 19-year-old and impressed there as well.

“It’s not up to me, whether he plays or doesn’t play, I just think he has been very impressive so far.”

You’d like to see him in there, though?

“Well he’s a Leinster team-mate so I’d like to see all my Leinster team-mates involved in the Ireland Six Nations squad but that’s not going to be the case and, like I said, it’s not up to me to pick the squad I just hope I’m in it. If there are other Leinster guys in it then it means the province is going well and happy days.

“I’m sure he [Joe] is a big fan of him [Larmour] but again there are lots of other guys in his position that are very good as well. It will be up to Joe but I hope for him that he does get in because he has been outstanding for us.”

In his 12 appearances this season, Larmour — who is still technically in the Leinster academy — has featured in the back-to-back European games against Exeter Chiefs as well as earning starts in the inter-pros against Munster and Ulster, both of which he set alight with quite superb moments of individual brilliance, most notably when he stepped three Munster players to run in a 60-metre try at Thomond Park.

Stuart Lancaster has worked with hundreds of young players during his time in charge of the Leeds academy and then his various roles with the RFU, and rates Larmour as one of the best.

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour Larmour has scored six tries in 12 senior appearances. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Joe has already involved him in camps and they’ll have selection meetings over the next week or two and they’ll be debating the pros and cons,” the Leinster senior coach said of Larmour.

“What I would say is everyone in Ireland has done a brilliant job developing Jordan so far to the point, right through from his school, U20s, to what we’ve done. It will be Joe’s decision, not mine, but he’s certainly a talented player.”

Is he ready?

“I’m not the coach,” Lancaster stresses. “But he reminds me a lot of some of the young players I coached in England. Jack Nowell is a good example. You can never really tell until you get them into camp and part of the reason why Joe has had him in camp is to see what he’s like. He’s certainly got all the attributes and he’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

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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