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03rd Oct 2023

Ian Madigan backs up Brian O’Driscoll training story about Garry Ringrose

Patrick McCarry

Garry Ringrose

‘He could have saved Matt, if he was brave enough to pick him.’

Back in early March, as Ireland were on their march to a Grand Slam, Brian O’Driscoll recalled some funny stories about his time as a young pup in the Test squad. Asked what young Ireland player stood out most, from his 15 years around the team, he immediately named Garry Ringrose.

“Immediately,” O’Driscoll told us, “you could see he got it – angles of running. Some of that is not a learned skill, it’s innately part of your rugby make-up and your understanding of how the game works.

“So when you do identify that in someone, it really stands them apart from their peers, and I thought that was so evident in Garry from very early on.”

We recently had the opportunity with Ian Madigan, a player fortunate enough to train and play with both Ireland centres. He backed up the comments from O’Driscoll and gave an extra take on how 19-year-old Ringrose left quite an impression on the senior Leinster squad.

Garry RingroseGarry Ringrose of Ireland runs out to make his 50th Test appearance, against Scotland, in March 2023. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)

Ian Madigan on Garry Ringrose

Ian Madigan, who was speaking with us as part of Heineken’s ‘Green all the way’ campaign, played for Leinster and Ireland with both Brian O’Driscoll and Garry Ringrose.

Madigan announced he was retiring from the game, last week, and dipping his foot in the punditry water during the World Cup. The Dubliner played with 16 of the current Ireland squad yet, asked what of that grouping stood out from an early age as potentially world-class, he named Ringrose. He told us:

“I remember when Garry Ringrose was breaking through, in my last couple of seasons at Leinster. I look back at Matt O’Connor’s reign and think Garry could have saved Matt O’Connor – if Matt was brave enough to pick him – because he was carving it up in training.

“He was still playing in the second [‘A’] team and he was screaming out to Matt – just pick me because of what I’m was doing in training, I’ll be able to do it in matches. And we’ve seen that, now, over the last seven or eight years.

“Garry is a player who works extremely hard and he’s just getting better and better. As he progresses to the knockout stages, we’re going to see the best of Garry Ringrose. His partnership with Bundee Aki is really flourishing. Bundee has been absolutely fantastic in this competition, possibly the player of the tournament so far.

“It’s one thing being impressive against Romania and Tonga, but his performance against South Africa was the best I’ve ever seen him play against a top side. He just looks like a player full of confidence. He’s running his lines with real patience and he looks, physically, in phenomenal shape. He’s someone who I hope is going to continue to grow throughout this competition.”

Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki looked to have locked down the centre partnership for these big World Cup games, with Robbie Henshaw playing back-up. According to the Athlone native, he is happy to be covering for two teammates in top form.

“Bundee is flying, he’s absolutely flying, playing class stuff,” said Henshaw. “I’m delighted to be there supporting him. Himself and Ringer (Gary Ringrose) are going really well.”

Garry RingroseIan Madigan pictured behind the bar in Sinnott’s Stephen’s Green, Dublin as he teams up with Heineken to go Green all the way this rugby season. Heineken are transforming iconic pubs Green all the way on match days with the help of some very special rugby legends who will be behind the bar pulling pints and having the craic with fans. 


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