Debutant flanker Dominic Ryan spoke of the anticipation leading up to playing his first Test match following Ireland’s 49-7 win over Georgia.

Having lined out for the Ireland Under-20s, Emerging Ireland and O2 Ireland Wolfhounds, he is now cherishing his first senior cap.

“I was very nervous. It was like waking up on Christmas morning. It’s kinda like, ‘today is the day’. I got butterflies. The anthems were fantastic and it was back into the rugby from there,” said Dominic Ryan, as he reflected on his maiden Test appearance for Ireland.

“(The first hit) is good. It’s good to get into the game. It took me a couple of minutes to get good contact but it was good.

“The big thing is the importance of cherishing each cap. It might sound cliched but they don’t come often. Talking to other guys in the team, like Darren Cave, he got his first cap in 2009. That was his eighth cap today. They mightn’t come often and they might be years apart. It is a big day for me and (I’m) just cherishing the first cap really.”

Despite dominating possession in the opening half Ireland were only 9-0 in front the break, thanks to three penalties from Ian Madigan.

Joe Schmidt’s men did have a number of try-scoring opportunities, with Ryan himself going for the line in the first half but a knock-on put a stop to the attack which the Leinster back rower was not pleased with.

The 24-year-old felt Ireland needed to play clever rugby on the resumption, putting more bodies into the breakdown to ‘clean deep’ after Georgia had succeeded in isolating Irish ball carriers on a few occasions in the opening half.

“Maybe the first half didn’t go according to plan but we had a good chat at half-time, ironed out a few problems and everything went a lot better. The ref had to sort them out at the breakdown.

“A couple of infringements at the breakdown and the tackler wasn’t releasing. Between that and us getting our cleaning out better, we made the difference in the second half.

“We were very close in the first half. We felt we maybe should have crossed the line with one of our mauls. At half-time Simon (Easterby) had a word with us and said, ‘we’re close guys’. Just little things.

“Our lifters weren’t strong enough or we didn’t brace hard enough the impact the Georgians were giving us. We just said we would go out with the aim to brace the force of the Georgians better and went over twice.”

leinster harlequins