By John Fallon
It says something about the inexperienced nature of the 31-man squad for the Irish tour to the USA and Japan that Garry Ringrose, with just eight caps, has only nine more capped players ahead of him on the trip.
Ringrose only made his debut in November but hasn’t looked back since and his involvement in this tour could yet be cut short by a call from New Zealand.
Not that the 22-year old is waiting by the phone for that call from Warren Gatand.
“It’s the least of my worries, I feel so lucky to go and represent Ireland for the next three weeks against USA and Japan.
“This time last year I missed out on a summer tour. I appreciate the fact that I am pretty lucky, from where I have come from last year, to come and play on the summer tour. It wouldn’t be too much of a concern. Hopefully we get the matches up on the projector and support the lads that are there.”
Ireland are getting accustomed to the dank, humid conditions as they prepare to make it nine wins from nine against the USA and Ringrose is under no doubt they are expected to win.
He said: "It is a win at all costs. It’s always the case when you put on the green jersey, you always want to put on the best performance possible, individually and collectively put the best performance forward and hopefully win. That will be our primary focus, do everything we can preparation-wise to ensure that.
“We knew the temperature would be a bit higher and it is quite a bit humid as well. We have been training at a high intensity to try and prepare us for when that comes so hopefully it won’t be too much of a shock to us,” he added.
Ringrose didn’t pay much heed to the last summer tour by the Irish to the USA four years ago for the simple reason that he was doing his Leaving Cert in 2013.
The 15-12 win in Texas passed without him giving it a thought.
“I probably wouldn’t have watched much rugby, my head was stuck in the books. A bit of a change since four years ago,” he said from the team base at the Hyatt Hotel on the banks of the Hudson in New Jersey.
It’s been a bit of a change for the 22-year old since Ireland were last in America. He sat on the bench in November without getting the nod during the historic win against the All Blacks.
But his turn came next time out against Canada and then his first try a week later against Australia.
“It is a bit of a roller-coaster. I was involved in all of the Six Nations games which was a big learning experience for me. And then getting a bit of disappointment with Leinster with the way we finished the year. A lot of rugby has been played since November.”