View Full Version : Niall Ronan Interview

26th-June-2010, 14:55
INTERVIEW NIALL RONAN: Gerry Thornley talks to the number seven
who has thrived at this rarefied level, with signs that not only is he
enjoying it, but it suits him

WHEN NIALL Ronan began this season the emphasis for openside
flankers was on slowing down opposition ball or forcing turnovers.
They were the destroyers and they were in their element. The likes
of Heinrich BrŁssow, David Pocock and Richie McCaw were ruling the

Amid this manna from heaven for number sevens, Ronan adapted
and worked tirelessly on that aspect of his game, but suddenly the
pendulum has swung back the other way, and on the evidence of
recent weeks, perhaps more to his innate talents as well.

He hit the ground running this season but, almost invariably, once
David Wallace returned to the team and Munster were back to full-
strength, Ronanís chances became more limited. Since the turn of
the year though, and especially on this tour, Ronan has been
exposed to the type of conditions which suit his game.

As former Meath Gaelic footballer, who has played a bit of rugby at
centre, Ronan is a different type of seven. He is at his best when his
link play and footballing skills can flourish, as he showed with an eye-
catchingly clever and influential performance against the Maoris.

ďIt benefits the attacking team big time. To watch the game is always
good but as a seven itís difficult at times, you donít know when to
poach and when not to poach. You take your chances when they
come and you have to make the right decision.Ē

Heís won two caps against the Canucks and the Eagles, but this, as
he puts it, is the big one. So far anyway. ďThese are the ones you
want to be playing in, against the Southern Hemisphere teams.Ē

Unfortunately, opportunity knocks in a way that is liable to see him
playing much of the game as a converted blindside and lineout
option, after a crash course in the role this week. ďI suppose itís a
different role, in lineouts and in defence off scrums, but you have to
adjust, and Iíd play anywhere to be honest with you, especially for
Ireland. So Iím just going to enjoy it. Iíve been working on parts of
my game that I havenít been used to over the last couple of days
and doing a bit of analysis.Ē

Itís a huge ask, although at least he comes in to it on one of the most
impressive performances of his career. Chances like the Maori game
donít come along too often and it helped that the new game, as such,
suits him. ďI got a lot of ball. It was an open game; 15-0 down after
10 minutes we had to have a go. I got in a lot of hits too, but I gave
away a few penalties, which I was disappointed with. Some of them
were touch and go, but thatís the way it goes.Ē

The one which ultimately decided the match was particularly cruel.
Ronan begins to make a perfect pinch at a Maori ruck, while on his
feet, but then when he goes off his feet, he lets go of the ball. Itís
moved back by an arm, but slow-motion replays of the incident show
it to have been an arm in a black jersey. You could understand why
Mark Lawrence saw it the way he did, but Ronan was unlucky. Such
is the lot of an openside. ďIt looked like I did it, but itís only a split-
second decision the referees have,Ē says Ronan very diplomatically.

Nonetheless, as with the pre-tour game against the Barbarians, it
gave him a taste of the more fluid and open game which prevails in
this neck of the woods and his confidence is up, all the more so after
training with Ireland for the last three weeks. This is the most
exposure Ronan has had at this more rarified level, and the signs are
not only is he enjoying it, but that it suits him.

Since joini

26th-June-2010, 16:26
Good article. You can see how much time he has for Kidney.

It is clear that the Churchill Cup last season has been very
beneficial for Irish rugby.