Garry Ringrose has recalled the immediate impact Stuart Lancaster had in his first day as Leinster’s senior coach.
Lancaster arrived at Leinster in September 2016, at a time when both him and the province were at a low point following failures in the year that preceded his appointment as senior coach.
Leinster had finished bottom of their Champions Cup pool the previous season after winning just one of their six European matches, while they were beaten by Connacht in the Pro12 final.
Meanwhile, Lancaster had taken almost a year out from coaching, as England failed to reach the quarter-finals of the 2015 Rugby World Cup under him as head coach.
Nonetheless, Ringrose explained to RTE that he challenged Leinster to return to the pinnacle of European club rugby on his very fist day at the province.
Garry Ringrose on Stuart Lancaster.
“I still remember, and a lot of us do, the first day he came in. At that time Leinster weren’t in the greatest of spots,” Ringrose explained.
“There were young guys coming through who had grown up seeing Leinster being successful and now we were experiencing Leinster not being successful. So it was kind of weird. Not what we expected.
“He definitely challenged all of us and he said his goal was to get Leinster back at the top in Europe and back to the top domestically. He has without a doubt done that.
“He’s a massive loss. Obviously we want to see him go well but he’ll definitely be missed, from our perspective.”
Ahead of tonight’s interpro, Leinster centre Garry Ringrose talks captaincy, Lancaster legacy and Ulster
🏉 @ulsterrugby v @leinsterrugby
🕢 KO 7.35pm
📍 Kingspan Stadium
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— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) September 30, 2022
A new adventure in France awaits.
Lancaster will leave Leinster at the end of the season, after signing on to become Racing 92’s new director of rugby on a four-year deal.
Leinster have won four league titles and the Heineken Champions Cup since Lancaster’s arrival, and the Englishman will be hoping he can finish his stint in Dublin on a high note.
Racing 92 will provide Leinster with opposition in this season’s Champions Cup, as the teams will meet twice in the pool stages, although tonight’s clash with Ulster will be the priority for now.
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