Imagine the scenario.
You’re 22 years of age with 15 international caps under your belt. Your CV is highly impressive; one Six Nations Championship, one Grand Slam, one Triple Crown, one Champions Cup, and two PRO14 titles and the media are touting you as a cert to make it onto the plane to Japan.
Yet, in the back of your head, you know you are just one of a number of talent backs competing for the highly coveted spots in the World Cup squad, and with team performances below par in 2019, nothing is certain.
That was the situation Jordan Larmour found himself in last week as he waited anxiously for news from the Ireland camp. An email signals good news, but if the dreaded phone rings, that’s the end of the road.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking. I was sitting beside my phone all day just hoping I didn’t get a call”, admitted the Leinster ulilty back.
Unsurprisingly, Larmour and a few of his teammates were tempted to turn their phones off to maintain their not-so-blissful ignorance, but thankfully, the call never came. Instead, the much-awaited news landed in his inbox.
“I suppose you always have doubts in the back of your head. What if, what if, what if? I was just praying I wasn’t going to get a call and thankfully I didn’t.
“The email came through late enough and obviously when I saw it, I was chuffed. It’s a dream come true and my family were chuffed as well. It was a special feeling.”
Larmour was picked to start Ireland’s 19-10 victory over Wales in their final World Cup warm-up game on Saturday, arguably their best performance of the year.
It was also a significant encounter as it marked the last home game for head coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best after 14 years of service from the Ulsterman.
Not that the Ireland camp have much time to dwell on such matters. On Wednesday, they board the plane to Japan and all results in the warm-up games will pretty much count for nothing.
“We’re certainly pleased with the performance but we know we have a lot to work on and it’s all about building towards Japan. It’s a step in the right direction.
“We always put pressure on ourselves to play well. We never feel as if there is no pressure on us. We talked during the week about laying down a marker and drawing a line in the sand after what happened in Twickenham. It wasn’t acceptable and we really focused on getting the performance we wanted.
“This whole summer series we’ve always been trying to build with Japan always in the back of our mind. We were just focusing on getting a performance we could be proud of.”
While he didn’t manage to cross the try line, Larmour was solid throughout, especially in his defensive role covering the space out wide. In total, the back line trio of Larmour, Rob Kearney and Keith Earls made 15 tackles during their time on the pitch.
The 22-year-old admitted that it is a facet of his game that he has been working to improve.
“I do a lot of work on it in training. I sat down at the start of the year and went through some of the parts of the game I want to improve on and that’s one of them. It’s such a big part of the game.
“Having the likes of Earlsy, Garry, Robbie, getting to learn off them, they’re such good defenders. When they’re playing inside you, it makes your job a hell of a lot easier.
“It is something I’ve been working on this pre-season and I’ll continue to work on it.”