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James Ryan named Ireland captain for crunch England test

James Ryan has been named as Ireland captain for Saturday’s do-or-die clash against England at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

The 24-year-old assumed the role of captain following Johnny Sexton’s injury withdrawal in the Wales match but will now start as captain for the first time.

The former St. Michael’s man already has 29 caps for his country and has long been tipped to take over the captaincy one day.

With Sexton ruled out of this weekend’s game, Andy Farrell has opted for Ryan to lead the national side against the recently crowned Six Nations champions.

The towering lock is no stranger to being captain, having led the Ireland U20 squad at the 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship.

His time in charge was a largely successful one, as they beat the Junior All Blacks for the first time ever. They reached the final of that tournament but came up short against a powerful English side.

High praise from Lowe

New Ireland winger James Lowe had earlier tipped Ryan to assume the role of captain and was full of praise for his Leinster teammate.

“Last night when I was sitting in my bedroom having a cup of tea, he’s walking around, he’s knocking on people’s doors making sure everything is sorted, that everyone knew what they needed to do.

“He’s one of the main men in the pack, he runs a lot of the lineout, attack and D. Earlier on, he’d lead by his actions, but now he’s grown into himself. He’s some leader, Lowe told the Irish Independent.

“He’s ridiculously mature for a lock. You would typically say you grow into a lock because a lock does all the stuff that isn’t on the stat sheet – he hits rucks, he makes tackles – but he’s got some skill-set.

“The fact that he’s only just got his driving licence baffles me because he’s mature on the rugby field. But man, don’t tell him this, but he’s a pretty unique man, that’s for sure.”

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