DUBLIN: James Ryan was confirmed as Ireland’s skipper when he appeared at the captain’s news conference at their training base on Tuesday, a day before the team is named.
Usual captain Jonathan Sexton was ruled out on Monday, three days after hurting his right hamstring against Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup.
Ryan took over the leadership for the remaining 50-plus minutes and led Ireland to a 32-9 win.
He has long been tagged as a future captain after leading the under-20s, and starting with the armband against England at Twickenham on Saturday will finally make the predictions true.
Huge honor for me, looking forward to it, the 24-year-old Ryan said.
Probably the great thing about it is, I wont be on my own there’s guys like Peter O’Mahony there, Hendy (Iain Henderson), Earlsy (Keith Earls), a huge amount of experience.
Even when Johnny is captain we drive at the week as a collective. It’s the same this week.
Ryan said he was determined not to let the captaincy distract him from his tasks as a lock and forward.
To be honest, it’s the same for me this week as it is every week, he said.
“I have got to look to do my job really effectively, hope to play well, not get sidetracked with all of the captaincy stuff because I am going to need to get my performance right, just like everybody else is going to get the performance right in order for us to get a result this weekend.
England beat Ireland by a comfortable 24-12 at Twickenham in March in the Six Nations, and overtook the Irish in the last round of the championship to win it last month.
We came on the wrong side of a result last time out, but I think as a group we’re making good progress, Ryan said. This weekend it’s a real test to see where we are at, coming up against the World Cup finalists.
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