THE VISION OF giant Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan charging full-tilt with a hurl in his hand is something England will count themselves lucky to avoid this weekend.
Having finally established himself as a first-choice lock and lineout leader in the Irish side, the 29-year-old is eager to record his first international win over the English.
Ryan added, “Meeting England in Twickenham last year was a dream come true but, obviously, it was a nightmare result. I was delighted to get picked for this game so I can hopefully go out there now and do it justice.”
The Tipperary native recalls watching the “phenomenal” Croke Park triumph, in 2007, on television but confesses that he missed many of the Ireland v England encounters in the 90s.
Ryan remarked, “I was probably outside, pucking around; wishing I could play hurling against England.”
He added, “I always dreamed of playing at Croke Park and was glad to play there [a year later] against Argentina.”
Ryan scotched any suggestions that he may have been watching patriotic movies to get himself in the mood for Sunday’s clash.
He told TheScore.ie, “You hardly need to look for any other sort of motivation when you’re playing against England. The performance they put in last week was very, very impressive.”
England’s comprehensive win over New Zealand last November, says Ryan, certainly raised his eyebrows and drove home the potential of Stuart Lancaster’s men.
As the man calling the jumps, the lock is eager to correct the ‘one or two slip-ups’ in the lineout that halted Irish progress at a stage when they were threatening to blow the Welsh away. He remarked:
Unfortunately Best got binned but Sean [Cronin] came in and did a great job with two throws. He wanted to throw to the tail but I said ‘We’ll leave that for another day’.”
While the Welsh were missing Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris, Sunday’s encounter against the English will see Ireland face the fit and in-form Joe Launchbury and Geoff Parling.
Ryan said, “Launchbury is very physical and abrasive too. He’s keeping Courtney Lawes out of the team there so he’s obviously doing some really good stuff.
“They are all big men, the front five, and the back row are very dynamic and powerful. Parling is a good operator too and they seem to be gelling well.”
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