Murray Kinsella reports from Chicago
THERE WAS A nice surprise for Jordan Larmour on Friday when his parents arrived into Chicago ahead of his first start for Ireland against Italy.
The 21-year-old met them for a quiet coffee the day before the game and then proceeded to do them proud by scoring his first try for his country at Soldier Field.
Then adding another early in the second half against Italy.
And another after the full-time hooter had sounded.
Larmour scored three and set up another try for Luke McGrath. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
“It was probably the last one,” said Larmour when asked which of his hat-trick was his favourite. “I was wrecked!
“I knew there was about ten seconds left and I had started cramping up but John Cooney was the one who was running across so I dropped under and saw a little gap and just went for it. So yeah, I was pretty tired after that one.”
The description of seeing a little gap and going for it totally undersells what Larmour did, taking the switch pass from Cooney, beating two Italians in the defensive line, taking Tito Tebaldi to the cleaners with a jump-step and then dancing around final defender Guglielmo Palazzani for a wonderful score.
“It is kind of instinct, to be honest. You don’t really overthink it,” said Larmour of his footwork.
“It’s just a case of if you see a bit of space, you see if I can move them and throw them off. I think the more space you have the harder it is to defend.
“I got caught against Toulouse one-on-one, so on the other side of the ball I need to get better and that is something I’m working on in camp.”
Mention of being stepped by Sofiane Guitoune for a Toulouse try in the Heineken Champions Cup underlines Larmour’s awareness that he is far from the finished product but he is a thrilling prospect.
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt will find it difficult to leave the former St Andrew’s College student out of his team going forward, particularly with Rob Kearney a doubt for this weekend’s game against Argentina.
Larmour was a popular man in Chicago. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Though he’s excited about Larmour too, Schmidt sounded a note of caution post-match in Chicago as the hype train gets set to move up to full speed.
“You know, Italy slipped off a fair few tackles at the end and I wouldn’t envisage the Argentinians slipping off some of those tackles, they defend really well,” said Schmidt.
They chase the chance really well, particularly the guys coming out of the midfield.
“So, it’s something that you don’t really talk about ceilings [of potential]. You talk about incrementally growing and so far Jordan has incrementally taken a step each time that we’ve asked him to really.”
Larmour said he doesn’t “really listen to the hype or anything like that” and pointed to his family and friends as being important in keeping him grounded as his career continues to lift off.
He is not a cocky young man but there is a very firm and justifiable confidence about Larmour, built on understanding that he must continue to work hard if he is to succeed.
He is also confident about what this Ireland team can do in the coming weeks and months.
“Long-term, we want to be World Cup champions,” said the Leinster back. “But there is a good bit of rugby to be played, there are three more huge games coming up this month.
Click Here: Toni Kroos Jersey Sale
The 21-year-old scored a thrilling hat-trick. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
“Then the Six Nations, so we just want to keep building on performance. We will look at this game, review it, and try to keep building and keep the momentum up. We want to keep getting better but the sky is the limit for this team.”
The two Tests in the next fortnight will be telling for Ireland, with Argentina and then the All Blacks in town before the final November Test against the US.
Even facing the best team in the world is something that Larmour has belief about, stating that there is no fear in this Ireland squad.
“Everyone is up for the [All Blacks] challenge but we are up for Argentina next week.
“Looking to the All Blacks, no one is scared of them, no one is afraid of them. They are a quality team, so are we.
“We just need to turn up on the day and we can turn them over.”
Subscribe to our new podcast, Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42, here: