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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 20 January, 2019

'I don't want to force him into any box, he is doing things his way. That's the beauty about him'

Isa Nacewa doesn’t want to compare Jordan Larmour with any other player out there, because the fullback is doing it all his own way.

Larmour is set for his first Champions Cup start on Sunday.
Larmour is set for his first Champions Cup start on Sunday.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

AS IS THE case when any rare and prodigiously talented young player bursts onto the scene, it is hard not to get truly excited, and so it is with Jordan Larmour, Leinster’s rising star whose potential knows no obvious bounds.

The 20-year-old needs no introduction at this stage, his performances over the Christmas period not only lighting up the inter-provincial derbies but Larmour’s impact was so impressive and instant that he is now a genuine contender for Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations squad.

And in this season of firsts, the milestones keep coming.

Having featured off the bench in the back-to-back games against Exeter Chiefs before Christmas, Larmour has been handed a first Champions Cup start for Sunday’s clash with Glasgow Warriors, a selection which is testament to how highly he’s rated and the impression he has made since his debut in September.

Some may see it as a bold selection from Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster but letting Larmour loose at the RDS again and holding Rob Kearney in reserve with one eye towards Montpellier next week amounts to common sense.

And even in isolation, Larmour’s selection at fullback for tomorrow’s round four fixture is fully merited; six tries this season provides a small window into his attacking prowess, but he brings so much more when he’s on the pitch.

“Jordan is just fun to play with and he is playing well,” Isa Nacewa says. “He wasn’t here during the successful times of Leinster’s past and I think that’s a good thing because he doesn’t have any boundaries in the way he thinks.

“He is getting out there, enjoying himself, and playing his style of rugby and he has played bloody well and we just feed off that. He’s really positive, he bounces around the place and everyone really feeds off that.”

When asked to compare Larmour with any players he has previously played with, Nacewa was reluctant to draw comparisons with anyone else — mainly because the former St Andrew’s College student is doing it all his own way.

Isa Nacewa Nacewa speaking at yesterday's press conference. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“I don’t want force him into any box, he’s just doing things his own way, and that’s the beauty about him,” the Leinster captain said.

“When he first came on board he was an out-and-out finisher who knew how to get to the try-line and I think the coaches have done a superb job in managing him. There was that Dragons game first game of the season where he scored that try and he has just got better every week and he works hard off the field with the coaches and in the analysis room.

“He has got a really canny ability to keep his high speed when he stepping, side-stepping off either foot. You don’t see that in every player so when he can do that similar to the try scored in Munster, that’s a pretty special talent to have and he showcases that on a weekly basis even in training. I have to run fast to keep up with him.”

Larmour and Nacewa, on his return from injury, start in an exciting Leinster backline which also includes Champions Cup debutant James Lowe, the in-form Fergus McFadden and the half-back pairing of Johnny Sexton and Luke McGrath.

Having won six games on the bounce since defeat to Sunday’s opponents in the Pro14 in mid-November, Leinster are in pole position to qualify from their pool and a seventh straight win tomorrow would be another big step forwards and towards the knockout stages.

“It was a busy 11 days with three Pro14 games over Christmas,” Nacewa adds. “We have got to flip the mentality into European mode, and do it pretty quickly.

“We are just trying to improve our performances week-on-week and that’s what we have been driving the whole year. This will be a big test for us. The performance is what counts for us.”

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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Ryan Bailey

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