Jordan Larmour isn’t doing badly for a guy who, when he selected his goals last summer, targeted a run in Leinster’s British and Irish Cup campaign and a handful of appearances for the seniors in the ‘domestic’ league.
Odds are that the baby of the Leinster and Ireland squads will celebrate his 21st birthday in Australia the day after the first of three Tests against the Wallabies next month, but he has found his feet with an alacrity that has surprised even him.
“I thought it would be a lot different but it’s just like another rugby team,” he said ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Stadium date with Scarlets.
“It’s a group of lads, everyone just playing the game, everyone just loving playing it as well.
The competition for places is so high in here. If you have a bad training session it hangs over you. You go in and have a video session and see where you can do better. Every day you come in you are trying to get better and improve.
Larmour, recently awarded his first senior contract, was in the sub-academy and still playing for St Mary’s this time last year when an ankle injury wrecked his chances of playing in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia.
Caelan Doris suffered the same injury playing for the same club that same day and the Leinster flanker was yesterday confirmed as captain for an Ireland U20s side that will soon leave for the latest global event in France.
Doris has only managed the 19 minutes for the Leinster seniors and, though his season was curtailed by a hamstring injury, it still serves to reinforce just how quickly Larmour has risen up the ranks.
Even if it hasn’t been without its missteps.
Larmour’s defence was given a rigorous inspection by Italy on his debut in the Six Nations and he incurred the wrath of Jonathan Sexton during the Champions Cup semi-final win against Scarlets when he called for the ball in the corner despite facing a line of half-a-dozen defenders.
He smiles at memories of the latter. Youth doesn’t pardon mistakes at this level but there is an understanding that there is a balance to be struck between backing his innate talent for finding space and facing reality in certain situations.
You are always going to listen to the senior lads on the team and the coaches. But, like, if there is a gap and you see one, you will always back yourself and they’ll tell you that as well. It’s not always plain sailing. If you see something that they might not, you have licence to do it.
“On that occasion, it was probably a very bad idea. I probably won’t do it again. There is a balance between backing yourself and knowing when to say no. It is probably in the bigger game where it counts more.
“That’s why I talk about going back to keep learning. I will try to keep learning from them (senior players) and listening to the coaches.”