It is remarkable to think it is only a little more than six months since Jordan Larmour announced himself to the rugby world with a brilliant solo try for Leinster at Thomond Park.
Even more so when you think the kid with the magic in his boots was still doing his Leaving Certificate two summers ago.
Fast-forward to June 2018 and 11 days past his 21st birthday, Larmour could round off a truly spectacular debut campaign by adding a Test series win in Australia to the Grand Slam, Champions Cup, and PRO14 winners’ medals he has already accumulated in his first 10 months of top-flight rugby.
A Leinster debut in September and a Test debut off the bench against Italy in February, with two scintillating performances in interprovincial games in their midst, including that wonder try against Munster on St Stephen’s Day, there has been a lot to take in.
“It’s kind of been a dream season,” admits Larmour. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I didn’t expect it, that’s for sure.
When Larmour reminisces about his schooldays at St Andrew’s College in Dublin and being an underage Ireland hockey international, there is no struggle to recollect.
“It’s only two years ago. I graduated in 2016 so it’s not that long ago. It’s gone quick, though, it’s really flown by, especially this season. It just flew by. I didn’t think any of this was possible this season. I’m surprised by how it’s all gone.”
Larmour acknowledges that those interpro derbies in the PRO14 around Christmas and New Year were the springboard to senior international recognition as a member of the Six Nations squad.
“I’d had a few games leading up to them and I hadn’t been paying too well or anything like that, so yeah, they were probably the launching pad. I suppose it’s just about taking your opportunity.”
It has been a similar story at Test level, grabbing his chance to shine off the bench in three of the Six Nations victories, including the Grand Slam-clinching Twickenham win, and here in Australia, where first-half injuries to Keith Earls in the first Test and Andrew Conway in the second have seen the wing get more game time than he could have hoped for.
“You never know what can happen in a rugby game so you always have to be prepared. If you’re starting or you’re coming on off the bench after 10 minutes or 70 minutes, you just have to be ready, and I think the coaches do a good job in helping you to prepare yourself because you never know what can happen. You just have to be ready and when you get those opportunities take them.
The ongoing learning experience has intensified since his runs against the Wallabies and opposing the back-three dangers of Dane Haylett-Petty, Marika Koroibete, and Israel Folau.
“Probably the biggest thing for my game is the aerial contest. Especially in that first Test there were so many and Folau is so good; just trying to get up there, just trying to win the ball back off him. Probably the biggest thing I’ve taken away is the aerial battle and the aerial contest. That’s probably my biggest work-on.”
And one more run before an epic rookie season comes to its conclusion.
Larmour is part of an Ireland touring party aiming to go out on a high after levelling the series with a 26-21 win over the Wallabies in Melbourne last Saturday, sending their three-game rubber into a deciding Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium this Saturday morning.
“It’s the last week of our season, so we don’t want this hanging over on our summer holidays if we lose. Everything is going into this week. We’ve talked about it when we were 1-0 down, to come back with a 2-1 victory. All the lads are up for it, and everything is going into this week. We’re not leaving a stone unturned, so hopefully we can get out there on Saturday and get the job done.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved