Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Young Irish lock Ryan gets nod for French clash



Young Irish lock Ryan gets nod for French clash

Ireland lock James Ryan wins a lineout during their autumn Test against Argentina at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 25.
Ireland lock James Ryan wins a lineout during their autumn Test against Argentina at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 25.

Young Irish lock Ryan gets nod for French clash

Young Irish lock James Ryan has been handed a vote of confidence by being selected to play France in Paris on Saturday, at 11:45pm Cambodian time, in what will be his Six Nations debut.

The 21-year-old – who made his Test debut last summer even before he had played for the Leinster senior team – is preferred to the veteran Devin Toner and will partner Iain Henderson in the second row.

There are great expectations for Ryan, a former Ireland Under-20 captain, with murmurings that he is destined to skipper the senior side one day.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said playing France in Paris was an ideal place to test Ryan’s temperament and mettle.

“One of the reasons is to find out,” Schmidt said when asked if Ryan was ready for such a challenge.

“We want to be able to keep building in that position.

“It’s a position we don’t have huge depth in, we’ve got young guys pushing through and we’ve given James an opportunity.

“We felt he went really well against Montpellier recently [for Leinster in the European Champions Cup pool clash] against what is a very big side.”

Schmidt also brought back a couple of players who missed the three Test wins last November. Keith Earls will win his 64th cap on the wing while flanker Josh van der Flier fills the considerable vacuum left by the injured British and Irish Lions star Sean O’Brien.

The side will be once again captained by the vastly experienced hooker Rory Best who wins his 107th cap.

The world class half-back pairing of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray, with almost 130 caps between them, have far more experience than their French counterparts, Maxime Machenaud, 31 caps, and 19-year-old Matthieu Jalibert who is making his debut.

Heavy hits

Sexton took some heavy hits in Paris two years ago – as the French won 10-9 – which went unpunished by South African referee Jaco Peyper upsetting both Schmidt and Best.

Schmidt, though, hoped for better on Saturday.

“It hasn’t been part of the game in the teams I’ve seen Jacques [Brunel his French counterpart] coach in the past,” said Schmidt, who is bidding to add a third Six Nations title to the ones he guided Ireland to in 2014 and 2015. “I’d hope that it’s not.

“I think protecting the players has been ramped up since we were involved two years ago.

“We hope with the referee we’ve got that it won’t even enter into the fray,” added the 52-year-old New Zealander.

The match is being officiated by Nigel Owens, the Welshman who refereed the 2015 World Cup final

The Irish will start as warm favourites to record only their fourth win in Paris in the last 40 years as the hosts under new coach Brunel seek to end a run of six Tests without a win.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The