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Jordan Larmour is part of Sigmoid Apparel.
# ups and downs
'I remember thinking every season was going to be like that, just winning'
Jordan Larmour had early success in rugby but has had to deal with injuries recently. He’s still only 25.

FROM THE EARLIEST days as a six-year-old down at Wanderers rugby club in Dublin, Jordan Larmour has been obsessed with beating defenders.

He remembers running straight across the pitch in minis rugby, doing his best to evade everyone on the other team. His coaches didn’t like it, but Larmour had an innate thirst for evasion.

Growing up, he’d spend hours on YouTube watching side-steppers like Quade Cooper then heading out into the garden to practise his own footwork. A lifetime of working on it means that Larmour’s ability to step defenders now comes to him instinctively.

“When I’m taking someone on one-on-one, I’m not really thinking about what I’m trying to do,” explains the 25-year-old Ireland and Leinster man.

“I’m never thinking, ‘I’ll step off my right’ or how exactly I’m going to beat someone. The instincts come down to the way you train.”

His footwork is one of the reasons Larmour enjoyed such a meteoric rise in pro rugby. Exactly a year after starring for the Ireland U20s, he was part of Joe Schmidt’s Grand Slam-winning squad in the 2018 Six Nations, playing three times off the bench including in the final game away to England.

A couple of months later, he started Leinster’s wins in the Champions Cup and Pro14 finals and that summer, he played three times in the series success down in Australia. 

“It was pretty much a dream season,” says Larmour now. “At the time, I didn’t know how big any of it was because you’re just so in the moment. You look back now and think how cool it was to do in your first season.

“I remember at the time thinking that every season was going to be like that, just keep winning every year.”

jordan-larmour-andrew-porter-and-bundee-aki-celebrate-winning Dan Sheridan / INPHO Larmour with Andrew Porter and Bundee Aki after the 2018 Grand Slam. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

There were more highs ahead, including starting the November Test win over the All Blacks in 2018 when he was still just 21 and further Pro14 titles with Leinster, but that kind of stunning early success was never going to be repeated every season.

The 30-times capped Larmour has hit a few troughs in his career in more recent times, with injuries holding him back in the last two years.

With a little more luck, he might currently be preparing to start against the Springboks on Saturday but the reality for him right now is rehabbing again.

The 25-year-old saw last season greatly disrupted by injuries but made it back to feature in the two midweek games against the Maoris in New Zealand. He didn’t have any involvement in the Test series last summer but was proud to watch his teammates make history, as well as enjoying the tour and two big nights of celebration at the end.

Larmour came into this season sharp and hungry but was hit by more bad luck when his foot got trapped under a Sharks player as he landed from catching the ball in a URC clash at the RDS last month. 

And so, he had to turn to family, friends, and his girlfriend, Lucy, to help him deal with the disappointment of another injury setback.

“I was limping around after the surgery so they were all looking after me and bringing me whatever I needed,” says Larmour, who has another three or four weeks to go with his recovery.

“I’m lucky to have a great support structure. They can see when you’re a bit down on yourself and they do a good job of picking you up. I’m hugely thankful.”

Larmour has an older sister, Claudia, a good hockey player, and a younger brother, Adam, who used to play rugby but got battered by injuries and took up Crossfit instead.

“He thinks he’s the next Mat Fraser,” jokes Larmour.

His mum, Anne, and dad, Ian – who was into cars and motorbikes when he was younger – have been converted into huge rugby fans since Jordan and Adam first went along to Wanderers. So there’s a strong support team behind the scenes.

jordan-larmour-is-treated-for-an-injury-by-garreth-farrell Dan Sheridan / INPHO Larmour has been unlucky with injuries. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Being out injured for long spells over the past two years has been deeply frustrating but Larmour has been able to focus on other things during this period. 

He is now part of the new performance clothing brand Sigmoid Apparel, having teamed up with Finnish golfer Kiira Riihijarvi and Italian golfer Ana Paula Valdes via David Kearney, a former golf coach.

“People always told me that the best way to learn about business was to start your own,” says Larmour.

The idea is to produce high-quality gear that’s not restrictive and is free of big logos and branding – the kind of stuff Larmour himself wants to wear. He’s enjoying the steep learning curve.

“Rugby is number one and is always going to be number one,” he says. “This is a long-term thing I will tip away at.

“When you’re injured, you have to have something going on outside of just rehab. The rehab can get tedious at times so it’s good to have something to focus the mind elsewhere.”

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Earlier this year, Larmour also became an ambassador for The Down Syndrome Centre, whose facilities in Sandyford and Swords provide therapy and support for children with Down syndrome.

The Down Syndrome Centre was founded by the Gaw family, who the Larmours knew through St Andrew’s College, and Jordan has delighted in getting involved.

“I’ve been up a few times to their centre in Sandyford and the facilities they have for the kids are amazing, all the support they have. Going in and seeing how happy the kids are, they’ve got a really cool gym set-up with a swing for balance work and a big ball pit.

“There’s another cool room called the Chill Room with lava lamps and the kids can go there if they want to chill out and relax. I was there a few weeks ago just passing a ball with the kids. It’s brilliant to see how happy they are there now.”

jordan-larmour Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Larmour will be back running soon. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

So Larmour has clearly been putting the injury periods to good use, but he’s more eager than ever to get back fully fit.

“I want to win more with Leinster,” he says. “There’s massive talent and we have a team that’s capable of winning.”

And with Ireland? The 25-year-old feels that the best is yet ahead.

“With injuries and falling out of a bit of form, that can be hugely frustrating, but I definitely feel like I can still give a lot more than I have been giving.

“At the start of this season, I thought I was in a good place and focusing on playing the best rugby I could. I still feel like I have a lot more to give and I’m excited to get back playing.”

Jordan Larmour was speaking to promote Sigmoid Apparel, a new performance clothing brand designed by athletes, for athletes.

Get instant updates on your province on The42 app. With Laya Healthcare, official health and wellbeing partner to Leinster, Munster and Connacht Rugby.

Originally published at 19.30; Updated at 20.30

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