Brian O’Driscoll has heaped praise on Garry Ringrose and explained why statistics sell the Leinster centre’s defensive abilities short.
Ringrose is in fantastic form at the moment and has captained Leinster in a couple of key encounters in the absence of Johnny Sexton in recent times.
There is no shortage of competition for places in the Ireland squad among the centres, although Ringrose has established himself as the best of the bunch this season and is showing no sign of slowing down.
Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll was speaking on BT Sport before Leinster’s emphatic win against Gloucester and explained just how good Ringrose is in defence, even if his statistics aren’t always the most impressive.
Brian O’Driscoll on Garry Ringrose.
“He’s a fantastic player. I saw him very young as an 18 year old in Irish camp just as I was finishing up, and you could tell immediately that he had an awful lot more than his peers,” O’Driscoll explained.
“He was a bit more wiry then, but he’s really filled out and he’s really in the peak of his powers at the moment. He’s playing some exceptional rugby. His defending is outstanding.
“It’s not always brilliant on the stats because he closes space, he might miss he odd shot but what he does do is he problem solves and he actually stops the ball from getting out to the trouble areas and brings it back into the traffic.
“He’s playing great rugby, the best I’ve seen so far in his career. Now he just needs a bit of luck with injuries as well because that’s what has broken up some great form in the past.”
“He’s in the peak of his powers at the moment.”@BrianODriscoll discusses the developments Garry Ringrose has made in his game, making him one of Leinster’s most important players.#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/sfEG3Zkjrk
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 16, 2022
Quick decision making is key.
While Ringrose does miss some tackles, it’s certainly worth the risk when he flies up out of the defensive line to break up a promising bit of attacking play from opposition sides.
Even if the player with the ball manages to evade Ringrose entirely, the option to go wide is often no longer available before another defender comes in to finish the job.
Statistics do help supporters to understand the sport at times, although they certainly don’t tell the full story.