Irish head coach Joe Schmidt was full of praise for fullback Jordan Larmour following his late inclusion in the starting XV during their 26-14 victory over France on Sunday.
Back at the Aviva, Schmidt’s side looked much improved from their lacklustre victory over Italy two weeks ago in Rome as they swept the French aside with a bonus point win.
One of the standout performers in the victory was Leinster’s, Jordan Larmour. The 21-year old had been named on the bench when the squad was first selected but found himself thrown into the starting XV just hours before the game following a late injury to Rob Kearney.
Speaking after the game, Schmidt spoke very highly of Larmour, singling out his positive start to the game as setting the tone for the rest of his excellent performance.
“Yeah, well his first involvement was special wasn’t it?” said Schmidt.
“Finding that space in the corner, forcing Damian Penaud to put that ball into touch after that kick receive. I thought that was super. I’m sure it gave him a spring in his step that his first involvement was positive.
“On the back of that, he built into a number of other positive involvements. He was probably a little bit lucky that Damian Penaud knocked the ball on from the cross kick and that’s one of the things, as a full back, he’s still learning to get into the right position at the right time.
“When he scythed through the middle of their midfield defence, he is freakishly good on his feet, I thought he was going to work his way back up the pitch at one stage to make sure he beat everyone but unfortunately, somebody catches up with you and I think it happened to be Mathieu Bastareaud, nearly killed him!
“So he’s probably learning a little bit from that to get through and step and go as opposed to step and step and maybe step again. There’s those aspects of it.”
Ireland’s win on home soil against the French sets up a mouthwatering clash with Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, with Warren Gatland knowing a win would hand his side their first Grand Slam since 2012.
Schmidt continued on Larmour, praising him for linking the back three well and also pointed out the young Leinster man‘s eagerness to step up when called upon.
“I thought he linked well with the back-three, sometimes he brought the ball back and linked. I thought it was a really good performance from Jordan in a real pressure cooker.
“Yesterday, he’s not starting at all, Rob is starting and this morning, he gets told that calf is still tight, ‘it’s you, young fella, you’re up at number 15. He virtually rubbed his hands together and said ‘right, thanks, I’m delighted’.”