Snack Media will be spending the next six months in the run-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup taking you through the tournament, the teams and even the terms of one of the world’s most popular sports. Our sixth blog looks at Ireland’s James Ryan.
Ireland has a team that is littered with world-class players. Joe Schmidt’s team already boasts the World Player of the Year Johnny Sexton, as well as some other formidable names on the world stage, such as Peter O’Mahony.
However, the rising star of Irish, and indeed world rugby, is James Ryan, and he is one of the men to watch this World Cup.
The 22-year-old second-row made his debut for Ireland in the summer of 2017, before he had played for his province Leinster. Since then, he has not only made himself one of the first names on the team sheet for both club and country, but he is simply undroppable.
In his first full season in professional rugby, he won a Grand Slam with Ireland, the European Champions Cup and the Pro14 with Leinster, and capped off the season with Ireland’s first test series win in Australia for 39 years. Ireland won the series 2-1, with the loss becoming Ryan’s first ever loss in professional rugby.
At such a young age, Ryan seems a complete player, and consistently tops his team’s tackling stats and carrying stats. It is almost impossible to keep 6ft 8 forward out of the game, as he is one of the most dynamic players for his size.
Ryan’s work rate means he has such a pivotal role in his team’s performances, and while Ireland may have slumped a bit this season, the lock’s standards have never dropped, and he could take this World Cup by storm.