Ringrose feeling the pressure but ‘loving every second’ of his first Six Nations

GARRY RINGROSE HAS only played two games in the championship, but already the Leinster centre knows what it’s like to experience both despair and delight in the Six Nations.

Ringrose, like most of his team-mates, endured a difficult afternoon at Murrayfield earlier this month when he made his Six Nations debut in Ireland’s defeat to Scotland.

However, the 22-year-old chipped in with a try seven days later as Ireland rebounded with an emphatic victory over Italy in Rome.

Ringrose, who made his Ireland debut in last November’s win against Canada, admits that there were lessons learned from the 27-22 loss to the Scots.

“It was tough. They have so many threats, especially across the backline and it showed with the tries they scored,” Ringrose recalled ahead of this weekend’s visit of France to Dublin.

“So we learnt a lesson or two in that regard in terms of getting the width in defence so we can come off square rather than chasing out and giving them time and space. I was able to learn a bit from that game and that’s what I tried to hopefully bring into Italy and beyond.”

Ringrose has been embracing the pressure that accompanies being a starter for Ireland in the Six Nations. His appearance against Italy brought the former Blackrock College student his fifth cap, which he marked with his second try. The first came in the hard-fought win over Australia back in November.

Ringrose scores a try against Italy. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“There’s a lot of pressure, but I love every second of it. I can’t find fault at all. It’s a learning process and I know myself, I’m certainly not getting too far ahead of myself,” he said.

“I’ve only got a handful of caps at the end of the day. I’m just trying to learn and enjoy every second of the opportunities I do get, whether it’s training days like this or getting the chance to play in a match.”

With Jared Payne unavailable due to injury, Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw have brought their centre partnership at Leinster into the international fold. Whether they’re wearing blue or green, the dynamic remains the same.

“I’ve been lucky to have had the chance to play with him at Leinster because when it comes to Six Nations I get a little bit of a sense of where he might be,” Ringrose explained.

“I haven’t noticed too much of a difference. He gets through a mountain of work so it’s just trying to keep up with him. He also covers my ass a bit, so I do feel lucky playing with him.”

Ireland’s next assignment is a meeting on Saturday with a France side who bounced back from a defeat to England on the opening weekend by getting the better of Scotland. If Ireland allow errors to creep into their game at the Aviva Stadium, Ringrose believes the French will punish them.

Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw in the blue of Leinster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

He said: “They’ve got that flair, they can score from anywhere and they have the individuals to do that. Certainly any lapses in concentration and they’ll take full advantage of it.

“We know we’ll have to be switched on the whole time for every second because they’ve such dangerous runners and that offload game as well. So we’ll just have to be aware of that too.”

Despite losing to Scotland, Joe Schmidt’s side still have a championship to play for. For a young player like Ringrose, however, this campaign is about absorbing lessons and taking each game as it comes.

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“Look, there’s no easy team to play against really,” he said. “There’s no fixture you’re looking forward to more than the next. That gap has really closed between teams, you can’t take anything for granted.

“There’s three massive fixtures coming up. If we want to consider ourselves in the running for the championship we have to take each game at a time and try and get the best outcome possible.

“I haven’t thought too far ahead. I’m trying to nail each day and be better at the end of the day than I was at the start. Take any learnings I can off Joe, Faz and the players around me and not get too worried about the outcome.”

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