Sean McMahon reporting from Twickenham.
It’s hard not to be impressed with Garry Ringrose. Not only did he score a crucial try as his side produced a magnificent display to leave south-west London with Ireland’s third ever Grand Slam but he put in a defensive masterclass in a game where Ireland had much less possession compared to any other game they’ve had in this year’s competition.
In addition to this, Ringrose is coming off the back of a lengthy injury layoff which only saw him return to the international scene last weekend against Scotland. Prior to that, he only got one game under his belt for Leinster against the Southern Kings.
With Bundee Aki going off injured, Jordan Larmour had to slot into 13 and Ringrose was then the defensive lynchpin in that backline. The 23-year-old, sporting quite the shiner, spoke after the game and admitted that he was expecting a pretty physical encounter with England’s centres.
“It was certainly tough coming up against those centres they have especially with Ben [Te’o] and Jonathan [Joseph] and then Owen [Farrell] moving to 12 when George [Ford] came on so we knew we would have our work cut out for us.”
The beginning of the second half was a crucial period for Joe Schmidt’s side. England had them under the pump for much of that time but Ireland managed to escape that period without conceding a try.
“It was tough, we were under the pump for a good while and it wasn’t probably the best way to start the second half,” Ringrose said.
“We talked about starting the second half the way we finished the first but we found ourselves on our line and it shows the character of the forwards to put in the work they did, us backs had a job slightly easier in those circumstances compared to the forwards’ work that they put in.”
Of course, Ringrose will be remembered for getting the first try of the game, after just six minutes, where he reacted quickest to a spilt ball from Anthony Watson.
“Yeah, it [the try] was a bit fortuitous and Rob [Kearney] did incredibly well to get up and make the contest tricky for Anthony Watson underneath it so I was just lucky that I managed to pick up the scraps.”
A typically modest response from Ringrose but he can be immensely proud of his display after putting in a superb performance.