James Ryan lasts only 25 minutes as Leinster tear Connacht asunder
One hopes that the second row was withdrawn as a mere precaution.
Since his Test debut in the summer of 2017, James Ryan has been one of his country's best players. Throughout the Grand Slam triumph and winning summer series in Australia, in 2018, Ryan was Ireland's stand-out player. Even when the team faltered, last year, Ryan was consistently good.
The former St Michael's College player made his Ireland debut before he even lined out for Leinster in a senior outing. His province quickly rectified that early in the 2017/18 season and has been a titan for them over the past two and a half years.
Ryan was tipping along nicely for Leinster, in the opening stages of what quickly turned into a pummelling for Connacht at The RDS, when a calf injury ended his game very early.
Leinster went 7-0 up after only 94 seconds when a Shane Delahunt lineout went badly wrong. His throw missed its' intended target, ended up being pouched by Leinster loosehead Peter Dooley and he set up Max Deegan for the opening try.
Deegan assisted on tries for Joe Tomane and Ciaran Frawley - with Garry Ringrose teeing Dave Kearney up for his seventh try of the season - and Leinster had the tryscoring bonus point bagged after only 19 minutes.
Ryan, unfortunately, only lasted another five minutes. He went down to receive treatment at one stage and tried to play on until a Connacht attack spluttered to a halt and there was a break in play. Perhaps conscious that the game was looking Leinster's already, head coach Leo Cullen called his lock ashore.
Reports from the sideline were that Ryan placed an ice pack on his calf after he was substituted for Ireland U20 lock Ryan Baird.
The Blues have two Champions Cup fixtures coming up in the next fortnight so Ryan may have been pulled early with a view to those fixtures. Leinster do already have a quarter final tied up already and another win, against either Lyon or Treviso, will set up a home quarter final.
New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell would be forgiven for wishing Leinster take all the necessary caution with Ryan, who is in the mix not only for a starting role for captaincy of his country during the Guinness Six Nations.
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