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Captain Ryan: I'm not too interested in giving lads a bollocking

James Ryan says he's wearing the role of Ireland captain more easily these days.  The 25-year ol...



James Ryan says he's wearing the role of Ireland captain more easily these days. 

The 25-year old will lead his country into Sunday's final autumn international at the Aviva against Argentina. Regular skipper Jonathan Sexton is missing after suffering a twisted knee and ankle in last week's victory over the All Blacks.

The meeting with the Pumas comes a year to the day since Ryan first captained Ireland - an 18-7 defeat to England at Twickenham in the Autumn Nations Cup.

"I've enjoyed it," the hulking lock told the media on Wednesday, "When I initially did it, it did feel like a bit of a weight on my shoulders in some ways.

"When I started, it was hard not to feel a bit like that.

"I don't feel that same way anymore. I feel like it doesn't actually change a lot for me through the week.

"We've got a number of guys there that are very good in a leadership capacity as well.

"The advice Faz [Andy Farrell] gave me when I first captained [the side] was to be myself, and to focus on my own game. That was probably the best piece of advice I could have gotten."

Ryan took over the captaincy last week when Sexton was forced off through injury against New Zealand, even i the optics suggested Peter O'Mahony was leading the team.

Asked how he differs from Sexton in his captaincy, Ryan said, "Look, I'm not too interested in giving lads [a] bollocking, or any of that stuff. I just want to get my own performance right - I think that's the best way for me to lead anyway.

"There's plenty of guys who can drive all those things alongside me."

Ryan's Leinster teammate Jamison Gibson-Park became the latest confirmed withdrawal after the 29-20 win over the All Blacks. A thigh injury means the scrum-half's place in the squad is taken by Luke McGrath.

And while losing players is always a blow - especially given the form of Gibson-Park - the stand-in skipper believes Ireland have the strength-in-depth to survive the inevitable changes to the side.

"That's been kind of the focus from the start - from when we came in. Faz has been big on it being a group effort - 30-40 squad effort," Ryan said.

"I think we're starting to see a little bit of just how good that depth is at the moment. You saw the impact that the bench made against New Zealand - that's probably a reflection of that.

"We're in a good place in that respect at the moment, and competition across the board is really strong, which is great.

Andy Moran is concerned for Mayo’s immediate future after Oisin Mullin’s departure | The Football Pod


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