Ireland legend: ‘Nothing to suggest’ Garry Ringrose should start over Leinster’s ‘Rolls Royce’ youngster

Jared Wright
Former Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy and Leinster midfielder Garry Ringrose.

Former Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy and Leinster midfielder Garry Ringrose.

Ireland legend Gordon D’Arcy believes that Garry Ringrose should not start Leinster’s Investec Champions Cup semi-final against Northampton Saints.

The former centre is adamant about maintaining the in-form midfield partnership of Jamie Osborne and Robbie Henshaw, even if Ireland international Ringrose is fit.

Ringrose has struggled with injuries this year and played just 24 minutes of Ireland’s Six Nations title campaign. In his absence, Henshaw has shifted to outside centre and has slotted in seamlessly for club and country, with 22-year-old Osborne shining in the number 12 jersey.

Form over pedigree

According to Leinster, Ringrose is set to be fully fit for the upcoming semi-final against Northampton at Croke Park, but D’Arcy believes that there is “nothing to suggest” that he should displace Osborne in the side.

“At the moment, I would pick Jamie Osborne and Robbie Henshaw,” D’Arcy told RTE Sports at a URC round table.

“That might seem a little harsh on Garry Ringrose, and it is, but there’s nothing to suggest that you would split them up at the moment.

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“[Osborne] offers that gainline [threat] as well as that second five-eighth distributor in there, strong kicking game. He’s quintessentially what a 12 would be. Robbie Henshaw, at the moment, is really comfortable in the 13 jersey. It would be hard to move him out of there.

“Through [his] injury, the onus is on Garry Ringrose to come back in and come up to that standard to force a decision for the coaches.”

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Rolls Royce player

D’Arcy has high hopes for Osborne and backs the youngster to not only force his way into the Ireland squad but will be one of the best players in the game in the next two years.

“There’s a lot to be excited about Jamie Osborne, he brings something that not every player in the Irish outside backs have, a little air of unpredictability,” he added.

“In 12 to 24 months time, we will be talking about him as one of the top rugby players in the world.

“He is just an absolute Rolls Royce of a player, his decision-making with ball in hand, he’s 6ft [3], you can’t coach a guy to be big.

“When you have a player like that who has all the skillsets…rugby is simply, you catch the ball, you either pass, kick or run and he has all of that ability on the ball.

“As the next 12 months roll through, we will see him pushing for a [regular] starting place with Leinster and probably into the national team.”

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