Belfast Telegraph

Larmour happy to keep trusting his instincts as he weighs risk and reward

 

By David Kelly

Sport is as much about making great mistakes as it is about making great plays.

If there were no margin allowed for error in the RDS tomorrow, we may as well not show up to see Leinster take on Toulouse. The game would finish 0-0. Nobody would try to get something right for the fear of getting something wrong.

You get a sense that, as much as his life is directed by nutrition and game plans, training schedules and video reviews, Jordan Larmour skips gaily to the beat of his own drum.

And so, as much as it was a thrill this season to see the most dazzling footwork witnessed in Chicago since Catherine Zeta-Jones, it was also encouraging to see him make a hatful of mistakes against Argentina during the same month.

Only the greatest make brilliant mistakes because they are always thinking of the creative possibilities.

That's precisely what attracts those who seek to wallow in the marvellous distraction of sport.

And one of the wishes for 2019, whatever it may bring for a player who last season accumulated every major honour available to him, is that he retains the same intuitive spark.

"It is just kind of reacting, going on instinct when you have the ball," he said. "I don't really over-think it. I go with my gut and if I ever see a gap I go for it.

"But it is all important to keep learning, especially with the players and the coaches you have around you. Always keep learning, keep growing my knowledge and keep getting better."

If it has taken him this far at just 21, one marvels to think of where he can go.

In Monaco before Christmas, he mingled with some greats of the game as if already an established legend, not merely a nominee for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year prize.

Bryan Habana and Rieko Ioane gathered around; their snapshot a triptych of wing wizards of the then and now.

"Next time they will probably want to smash you but that is the way of it," he smiled. "All you can do is go out and do your best. You are going to get smashed sometimes but you just get back up, get back on the horse."

Tony McCoy rode more than 4,500 winners but also lost more than 14,000 times and was bumped off many a dis-obliging mount; Roger Federer has almost lost as many points in his tennis career compared to those he has won.

The point is that he more often than not wins the ones that matter. And so it will be for Larmour tomorrow; searching for that vital intervention to make all the difference, skirting the chasm between risk and reward.

And whether it is a sashaying slalom that skittles defenders, or a close-range run-in from a perfect punt or precise pass, all that matters to him is that his contribution can be decisive.

"I don't really think about it," he said when asked about his - relative - drought of signature tries since that glorious hat-trick in Chicago against Italy last November, his sole scores in nine Irish caps. He has a modest four in nine games for Leinster.

"I am just trying to do my job and do my best for the team. If you score a try, that is nice.

"But I don't really think about it. All I think about is doing my role and doing the best I can for my teams and team-mates."

Rugby fans are in for a treat tomorrow as Toulouse's ambition to play will match that of Leinster's.

"The way they play is so exciting," said Larmour. "They thrive off counter-attack, off turnover ball. The off-loading game they have, the pace, the players they have, they seem a pretty exciting team to watch and they are a dangerous team.

"So we need a good game plan, especially in defence. We can't give them any cheap turnovers. We must be switched on."

Larmour always is.

Leinster vs Toulouse

Heineken Champions Cup - Pool One

RDS Arena, Tomorrow, 1.00pm

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