Garry Ringrose shows glimpse of future as he ducks, weaves and hits hard

Ireland centre scored first international try and brought reminders of great O’Driscoll

Comparing Garry Ringrose to early versions of Brian O'Driscoll still seems premature. No long blonde mane for starters. Ringrose is of the crew-cut variety, less showbiz and has been held in cold storage for longer; hitting the gym to increase muscle mass while Ireland set off to South Africa during the summer.

At 21, he only has three caps, only making 44 carries for 129 metres and nine defenders beaten.

Only going one direction. Because for the first time since the Italy game 12 years ago, we saw a glimpse into the future. The upgraded future, version 2.0.

Return for a moment to that try down the south end of Lansdowne Road in 2004. Peter Stringer flings O'Driscoll a hospital pass. In a flash, the young Irish captain changes direction, racing laterally towards the blindside wing, tossing a dummy before gliding over unharmed.


A minuscule gap, outside the Italian hooker, instinctively discovered because pre-laser surgery O’Driscoll was half blind.

Ringrose can see. Thirty-three minutes played and Ireland arrive at the Wallaby try line. Conor Murray flings a hospital pass, glancing off Tadhg Furlong's shoulder and backwards onto the turf.


Ringrose stoops and gathers, a little like the 2000 O'Driscoll in Paris. Eyes scanning, his body facing the entire Wallaby pack of forwards, in a millisecond he glides inside Michael Hooper. Ten metres to travel but it's already a try. The gap between Dean Mumm and Devin Toner, who legitimately blocks Rory Arnold, is really no gap at all.


Of course Ringrose is not O’Driscoll; he only has three caps despite all those carries and metres and defenders beaten. He only has the one try, a stretch that shows himself to be a longer, modern version.

Same, but different. He celebrated with a quick roar, eyes remaining downwards, emotions otherwise contained.

Just like the anthems. Pillared by Josh van der Flier and Keith Earls, he looked every inch his nervous 21-year-old self. Same as that first cap against Canada.

“I was pretty nervous to be honest but I was excited at the same time,” he remarked after Canada. “It was a pretty special moment. I was thinking about my friends, family, past coaches and people who 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.”

Justice was served.

6 minutes: Clearly settled into the fray, he steps Tevita Kuridrani and offloads to Paddy Jackson just as Michael Hooper scrags him.

13 minutes: Ringrose follows up a Jackson garryowen, leaps, catches but lands with nothing. Welcome to the Israel Folau no fly zone.

“It wasn’t perfect but you probably can’t expect perfection when those young guys step up or attempt to step up,” Schmidt observed. Perfection is not the expectation, yet.

17 minutes: Ringrose, carrying as first receiver, can offload but he opts for the cleanest of presentation instead. The rugby intellect is evident in everything he does.

23 minutes: Clears two rucks in the build-up to Iain Henderson's try.

27 minutes: Folau strikes again. Ringrose goes high on the brilliant Wallaby fullback, falling off him but recovers, after Folau bursts through Keith Earls, yet the second attempted tackle around the waist does little to stall the former Rugby League superstar. Conor Murray arrives and Folau's offload goes to ground.

29 minutes: One metre gain through Stephen Moore and Sekope Kepu as these frontrowers struggle to contain his footwork.

33 minutes: Ringrose changes direction twice, ducking and veering away from hulking gold-clad men before his long stretch. International try number one.

David Pocock is nowhere to be found because Henderson has illegitimately driven the Wallabies most important cog out of the ruck and behind the try line. Pocock misses the chance to make the tackle because he was admonishing the big Ulster lock.

“I was taken out five metres off the ball, I am the cover,” Pocock appeals to Jérôme Garcès.

Michael Cheika was livid afterwards – "We were penalised for doing that against New Zealand" – as karma kindly revisits Ireland. Fear not Cheiks, Jaco Peyper is in Twickenham next Saturday.

37 minutes: Australia are disgusted with the 17-0 deficit and go straight at Ireland. Ringrose grounds Folau and gets a saving hand in to deny Hodge a try-scoring offload. This becomes his game.

71 mins: Kuridrani gets a clean run at Ringrose who holds strong in reverse until van der Flier and Best form the maul and win an Irish scrum. Red-faced, he's scooped up and hugged by Cian Healy.

76 minutes: Ringrose belts into Dane Haylett-Petty, slowing him in the Australian 22.

Schmidt: “You cannot fault Garry for doing a great job, and he has done a great job but where their big boys really started running we did not quite have the firepower to stand square on the line and knock them back, where Henshaw has done that for us superbly.”

Still 76 minutes: Joey Carbery gets hammered to ground by Hooper after impressive high fielding. The Wallabies pile through but Ringrose appears from the ruck with ball in hand only to scuff his kick straight at Folau.

Ireland survive and the wonder is why Ringrose, van der Flier, even Carbery were held off until now. All three effectively arrived on the professional scene in 2016. What reason could there be to not let them off the leash earlier?

"Not if you saw them in the changing room right now," Schmidt explained. "Man, I think it was a needs must . . . Robbie Henshaw would have been playing at 12 and Henshaw was unbelievable in Chicago and I think that one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity."