Ringrose: It was a special moment
November 15, 2016 9:48 am client
There have been Interpro derbies, Guinness PRO12 play-offs, big European fixtures, as well as games in Aviva Stadium – not to mention World Championships and 6 Nations with the Ireland U20s.
Despite the preparation, and familiarity with the venue on Saturday, the young centre admitted to, naturally, feeling a few nerves before heading out for his first senior international cap.
“I was pretty nervous, to be honest, but I was excited at the same time,” Ringrose told the media after the win over Canada.
“There was eight of us involved making our debut so a lot of the senior players stood up and made their voices heard as well as all the coaches demanding and expecting nothing but the best out of the younger guys.”
While many had tipped Ringrose to be involved at international level for some time, the Blackrock College man wasn’t getting ahead of himself – there’s plenty of competition for green jerseys, and a lot of work to be done before one can be claimed.
“I suppose there is so much competition, it’s not really something that I would have expected or foreseen. I would always take the adage of focusing on the next challenge provincially and enjoying any opportunity I get [with Leinster].
“I was delighted to hear early on in the week that I would be starting but I knew it meant that I had to pull the sleeves up and work hard in the lead up to it. It was a pretty cool experience.
“I will be looking forward to seeing the tape. I will see the few errors I made and try and learn from them. You’ve got to make the mistakes to learn from them.
“The senior players do help you in that regard. They hammer home the basics and you try to fit into the team as much as possible.
“I was lucky enough to be involved for two years at U20s under Mike Ruddock and Nigel Carolan. You learn from experience like that and it’s a step up each time.
“Any exposure to high intensity international games at 20s level has a knock-on effect. That kicks on again when it comes to provincial. It’s all building so there’s never a huge leap. It’s a kind of a gradual progression.”
Ahead of the Canada match, Leinster Rugby TV released a video of senior Leinster players looking back on their Ireland debuts. One of the recurring themes was of it being a proud day not just for the individual but for the family too, right down to some players even picking family members out in the crowd.
Ringrose may not have spotted his parents or friends among the 50,000-strong crowd at Aviva Stadium, but they were certainly in his thoughts as the teams ran out onto the pitch.
“It was a pretty special moment. I was thinking about my friends, family, past coaches and people that I’ve dealt with who have helped me get to this point. I was trying to do them justice and try and get the win.
“It’s only after the game is finished or the next day you get a chance to decompress at all. I would be over the moon if I’m lucky enough to get another opportunity like that.”