James Ryan sure lineout can be a source of strength for Ireland

James Ryan has no doubt but that Ireland's lineout can be a source of real strength for the team as their World Cup opener against Scotland approaches.

James Ryan sure lineout can be a source of strength for Ireland

James Ryan has no doubt but that Ireland's lineout can be a source of real strength for the team as their World Cup opener against Scotland approaches.

Joe Schmidt's side were out of touch when they shipped 57 points to England last month, with three tries coming directly from their own throw, and captain Rory Best coming in for particular criticism for the quality of his feeds.

Much better followed, particularly in the second of the warm-up games with Wales when Ryan and Ireland recovered from two early botched attempts, but it will be an area of some interest on Sunday given the added fact that Devin Toner has been omitted from the squad.

Toner is 6' 8” and was the lineout caller for years with the national side. That responsibility has now been passed on to Ryan who, while a phenomenal player, still has only 19 caps and is just 23 years of age.

He will, at least, have the added support of Iain Henderson and Peter O'Mahony who offer huge experience and lineout expertise.

“I had a taste of it again the last week, the last Wales game,” said Ryan of his newly-minted senior status.

“So whenever I'm in that role I enjoy it. Certainly whenever Hendy, Pete and myself are there it's about sharing responsibility in that regard, so we're chipping in together. And when we combine that with the experience Besty has I think when we get things right we can be strong in that area.”

Ryan has been nothing short of sensational in his short time playing for Ireland.

The performances he produces on the field are borne not just of talent but of an uncanny ability to remain calm and level even as the biggest game of his career approaches here in Yokohama in front of over 72,000 spectators at the weekend.

The same holds for Tadhg Furlong whose first experience of a World Cup four years ago amounted to little more than 16 minutes off the bench against Romania in the pool stages. Now 27, this will be his first real shot at the Webb Ellis.

James Ryan, left, and Tadhg Furlong on media duties today. Picture: Sportsfile
James Ryan, left, and Tadhg Furlong on media duties today. Picture: Sportsfile

“I suppose I'm not all that experienced either, I've only played one World Cup match myself so it's just trying to stick to what we've worked on throughout the pre-season and into the warm-up games.

You're not reinventing the wheel. You're trying to do your job as best you can, really, and block out as much external noise and distraction as you can to really focus on your performance.

All told, eight of the Ireland

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If all of them are as stoic as Ryan and Furlong then that shouldn't be much of an issue.

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