James Ryan spurred on by witnessing Ronan O'Gara's drop goal 1 year ago

James Ryan spurred on by witnessing Ronan O'Gara's drop goal

James Ryan was one of the thousands of fans that were facing Ronan O'Gara when he kicked the Grand Slam winning drop goal against Wales in 2009.

A large majority of those fans would have gone on and celebrated long into the night while Ryan took some inspiration from the pace setters of that generation.

"I was in the Millennium Stadium," said Ryan when asked where he watched the Wales game.

"I was facing O'Gara as he hit the drop goal with my family so it was pretty incredible.

"I hadn't been there before, I travelled with my family that morning so it was one of my most memorable days as a kid.

"Every success, whether it was Leinster winning Heineken Cups, Ireland winning the Grand Slam, it all played a role so just like any other kid really, you love seeing your team win."

Ryan has made a brilliant start to his Ireland career and he was the first name Schmidt mentioned when he was asked who had impressed him following the win over Scotland.

The Leinster lock does not know what it's like to lose in the Six Nations and could win a Grand Slam in his first campaign, which shows you the absurd nature and evolution of this Irish side, but while Ryan acknowledges the significance of the Grand Slam, he insists that Ireland can't get swept up by the hype of the occasion.

"It's definitely been kind of a rollercoaster year," said Ryan.

"It's been crazy but it's been great but I've been picked to do a job so I've a big responsibility this week [so I won't] be losing track of that.

"We're well aware of the magnitude of the game. Obviously, it's no secret that it's a big one but we've trained like we do every week and we're staying focused on the task in hand and the process.

"Obviously, Ireland doesn't win Grand Slams very often but we've spoken this week about not being distracted by things like that and as I said, we're staying very focused on performance."