The immediate response, and mine on auto up until now, would have been either of the half-backs. It’s not that we don’t have maturing resources in reserve but because Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton, individually and collectively, are so far ahead. So I pondered and tried to put myself inside Joe Schmidt’s head but it led me down a different and I believe much more accurate road entirely. What Paul O’Connell was when he first burst on to the Munster and Ireland scene (try-scoring debut v Wales in 2002) alongside Mick Galwey, James Ryan is now (also a try-scoring debutant in green v USA in 2017). For Galwey back then read Devin Toner as the mentor in chief now. The value of an experienced head alongside, particularly in the ‘boiler house’ from days of yore, cannot be emphasised enough. Talk to Donal Lenihan and ask him the difference Moss Keane made when nursing him through Munster red or Ireland green. Ryan is already indebted to Toner and to Lion Iain Henderson for their role in his Test introduction to date. My answer to the Jury question went along the lines: “It might sound a little premature given his age and… Read full this story
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