Missing out on a World Cup would, under normal circumstances, be one of the lowest points in any player’s career, but it likely helped propel Jordan Larmour on to a much higher plain this season.
Leinster travel to Liberty Stadium to face Ospreys tomorrow (7.35pm).
The Leinster and Ireland back has been a revelation with club and country this campaign, emerging at blistering speed from the underage ranks to devastate defences with his footwork and pace. He is already a Grand Slam winner at just 20 years of age.
One of Ireland’s standout performers in last season’s U20 Six Nations, the underage star then suffered an ankle injury playing a league game for St Mary’s and, after some consideration, the decision was taken to go under the knife.
“At the time, all I wanted to do was go to the World Cup with the U20s. I weighed both options up as I would have had to get surgery on my ankle after the World Cup if I managed to go as I was trying to rehab it without the surgery.
“I’m glad I got the surgery done as I had a full pre-season under my belt and I got my first start for Leinster at the start of the season. I’m happy with how it worked out now.”
Larmour had 16 outings, 10 of them starts, with Leinster before the Six Nations, yet the expectation was that Joe Schmidt might introduce him to life in camp during the Six Nations before blooding him in Australia this summer.
Not a bit of it.
Schmidt has known for a long time that Larmour was a special talent. The Ireland coach was on the sidelines two years ago when the St Andrew’s boy was invited to play with a Blackrock President’s XV against the touring Hamilton Boys High School.
The Kiwis won, but Schmidt took note of the No13. It’s an easy story to like even if the photo Larmour snaffled with the Irish coach afterwards stands out in his mind’s eye more than anything he managed on the field.
“I played alright, I guess. Knowing he was in the crowd made me try play a bit better. I still have that picture at home. I haven’t really thought about that, to be honest. Maybe it was the start, I haven’t thought about it.” He probably hasn’t had the time.
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