The recent tsunami of environmental reports agree on one thing: our oceans are being choked by plastic. But sometimes it takes a personal experience to bring the message home.
And so it was for Ireland’s Garry Ringrose when he recently ordered a table and chairs online for his new house.
“After I’d assembled it I was left with this mountain of plastic. And it got me thinking,” says the 24-year-old Dubliner, adding he’s “slowly but surely changing a few habits” based on what’s he seen on TV and social media.
He’s juggling a lot these days — playing with the Leinster and Ireland squad, studying law and business at UCD, where his long-term girlfriend Ellen Beirne is completing a masters in dietetics, and working with various commercial partnerships.
Regardless, he keeps his head down, focussing on the game.
And even when the hype about his fast-forward game — he’s a stunning ability to find and create space on the pitch — reaches fever pitch with comparisons being made to former Ireland caption Brian O’Driscoll, he still filters it out.
"I pretty much have stuck to taking their advice. I have enough on my plate performance wise to worry about — the second I start to get distracted about anything would be to my own detriment.”
Garry Ringrose is an Audi Ireland brand ambassador.
What shape are you in?
The last three weeks I’ve been trying to balance a bit of downtime, relaxing and then probably getting in three or four gym sessions a week with one or two conditioning sessions, which would be on a Wattbike or a rowing machine or going out for a run.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’d say breakfast is my most consistently healthy meal because I put the effort in. It would be eggs — scrambled, poached — then maybe brown bread and avocado, smoked salmon would be there too.
I have that with a bowl of overnight oats I’ve made the evening before.
I put in oats, a scoop of protein powder, milk and Greek yoghurt, raspberries, blueberries strawberries a bit of banana, then mix it all up and it’s good to go in the morning.
I don’t think it would be as presentable as what you see on Instagram. But I’d highly recommend it. You get an extra 10 minutes in bed because you wake up and it’s there.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Pizza. I’ve a teammate who is always convincing me to go for pizza — I usually give in. He shall remain nameless but he knows who he is. The other guilty pleasure is crisps — they don’t last long in front of me so I try to avoid them.
What would keep you awake at night?
I probably consistently have a poor night’s sleep on a Sunday night. I’m thinking of the week ahead and what I’ve planned and what I want to happen. Once the week starts, it’s not too bad.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve been lucky to get plenty of advice over the years but one that sticks with me is from my granddad, Des Ringrose. He always reminds me to enjoy the moment. Because it’ll pass by pretty quickly.
What celebrities would you most like to meet?
Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo and Alex Ferguson.
What’s your favourite smell?
Honey. My old man keeps bees, so there’s always an abundance of honey in the house. He also has a beehive on his offices in Hume Street, just off Stephen’s Green.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I’ve a bad habit of biting my nails. I wouldn’t mind if I kicked that habit — my nails might be a bit more appealing.
When is the last time you cried?
A low point was a couple of weeks ago when we lost the Heineken Cup final.
What traits do you least like in others?
Arrogance would be something most people don’t like — I’d be in the same boat as that.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
I can be a bit of an introvert at the best of times. I find one-to-one is a bit easier.
Do you pray?
I’m not sure if I pray a lot. I take time when I can to reflect and be grateful for the people I’d be lucky to have in my life, that would be the extent of it.
What would cheer up your day?
A coffee with mates, a swim in the sea or walking the dogs — Pip, a sausage dog and Seve and Old English sheepdog. Something like that usually makes a difference. And obviously spending time with Ellen would cheer me up.