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'It's a dream come true': Larmour relishing opportunity of first World Cup

The 22-year-old has been working hard on his defence and was decisive in his decision-making against Wales.

JORDAN LARMOUR SAT anxiously beside his phone last Sunday, hoping — praying — he didn’t receive a call from Joe Schmidt. He wasn’t the only one tempted to turn it off or switch it to flight mode for the afternoon, but thankfully for the 22-year-old, the good news came through later that evening on email.

Larmour has been an everpresent in Schmidt’s Ireland squads since making his debut against Italy in the 2018 Six Nations, but in the World Cup numbers game, nothing was assured when it came to the final cut.

jordan-larmour-tackled-by-hadleigh-parkes-and-jonathan-davies Larmour won his 16th cap against Wales on Saturday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With positions in the back three particularly tight, Larmour was left to sweat over his place among the chosen 31 for Japan, but ultimately the Leinster man had done enough to convince Schmidt of his worth.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” Larmour admits. “I was sitting beside my phone all day just hoping I didn’t get a call. The email came through late enough and obviously when I saw it, I was chuffed. It’s a dream come true and my family were chuffed as well. It was a special feeling.

“I suppose you always have doubts in the back of your head. What if, what if, what if? I was just praying I wasn’t going to get a call and thankfully I didn’t.”

Having achieved so much at such an early stage of his career, Larmour — already a Grand Slam winner, Champions Cup winner and two-time Pro14 champion with Leinster — is now gearing up for his first World Cup.

Larmour will travel to Japan with the rest of the squad this Wednesday imbued with a sense of confidence garnered from Saturday’s final warm-up win over Wales, with the Leinster man producing an assured display on the wing.

While Larmour was not overly involved during the first half as the hosts played for large parts without the ball, he showed huge improvements in his defensive game, having worked hard on that aspect over pre-season. 

He was decisive in his decision-making and made a number of important tackles on that right flank, while also coming up with an excellent turnover early in the second half to get Ireland back on the front foot. 

Depending on the severity of Keith Earls’ quad injury, Larmour could be competing with Andrew Conway and, perhaps even Garry Ringrose, to start on the right wing in the World Cup opener against Scotland.

“I do a lot of work on it in training,” Larmour says of his defence. “I sat down at the start of the year and went through some of the parts of the game I want to improve on and that’s one of them. It’s such a big part of the game.

tomos-williams-is-tackled-by-jordan-larmour-and-james-ryan Larmour made four tackles against Wales. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Having the likes of Earlsy, Garry, Robbie, getting to learn off them, they’re such good defenders. When they’re playing inside you, it makes your job a hell of a lot easier.

“It is something I’ve been working on this pre-season and I’ll continue to work on it.”

Overall, Larmour said Ireland were pleased with their physically dominant and muscular performance against Wales, but the squad know they will need to take it up another notch or two heading into the serious business.

“Yeah, we were happy enough, but still a lot to work on,” Larmour continues.

“We put a lot of emphasis during the week on our defence because going back to Twickenham, it wasn’t good enough. That was in the back of everyone’s mind, wanting to put a marker down and I think we did that today. 

“All these games we want to keep building and keep getting better. I thought that was a good performance. There is still a lot to work on so next week we’ll go through the review and take the learnings from there. Just try to keep kicking on.”

As for the prospect of playing in a first World Cup, Larmour adds: “It’s a dream come true. I’m just ready to get going now. I just want to get to Japan and start to prep for the first game.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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