Garry Ringrose admits a "bit of luck" led to Six Nations inclusion

Ireland welcome the French to the Aviva Stadium this weekend and go in search of back-to-back wins in the Six Nations Championship

BY Cian Roche 17:02 Thursday 23 February 2017, 17:02 23 Feb 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Garry Ringrose admits there may have been a touch of fortune about his inclusion in the Six Nations squad this year.

The Ireland centre has come to prominence just at the right time and performances in the Autumn Series - which included wins over New Zealand and Australia - have meant he was a near certainty to be included in the Northern Hemisphere's showpiece.

"I probably didn't expect to play as much rugby as I did during the Autumn Series and one or two injuries, with a bit of luck here and there, and I found myself involved in the Six Nations," he said today at the squad announcement for Ireland's upcoming clash with France.

Joe Schmidt's side welcome the French to the Aviva Stadium and will enjoy home comforts for the first time in the Championship. Life on the road hasn't been easy for Ireland up to this point; a narrow defeat to Scotland dashed their Grand Slam and Triple Crown hopes, before they atoned for the result in a nine-try victory over perennial strugglers Italy.

"It was great to be involved in the first two games of the Six Nations and to be involved in a home game, I just can't wait. I think with all my family and friends there is a buzz around, everyone can't wait for the first home game." 

Learning on the biggest international stages such as these can put added pressure on players, something that the Leinster academy graduate knows all too well.

"At 13, you're always shown a different picture every game. I'll always come away, be it playing for Leinster or for Ireland, having learned something new. It's about trying to adapt as best as possible and even in training when we play against each other, there's always something new thrown at you.

"Thankfully I've Robbie [Henshaw] inside me who's incredibly smart and physical defensively. I can follow his lead a little bit sometimes and he covers me sometimes if I get it wrong. Thankfully I have that extra bit of security there."

Garry Ringrose scores Ireland's seventh try against Italy in the Six Nations. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Today's squad announcement sees the return of Johnny Sexton to the starting XV, having missed out the first two games of the Championship through injury.

In his absence, Paddy Jackson proved more than capable of stepping into the void and Schmidt shared today that the Ulsterman was gracious in conceding his place to one of Ireland's most recognised players. Ringrose reckons that there won't be a drastic difference in the players when it comes to this Saturday evening.

"It'll be pretty seamless I think. [Paddy] Jackson, Johnny [Sexton] and myself have played a lot together and a lot in Autumn.

"I played a lot with Jackson so I made my debut beside him, so I know him in that regard. I've played with Johnny at provincial level so I can't imagine there will be many changes if Jackson comes on. If he comes on he'll slot in and there won't be any real change at all.

"[Sexton]'s proven what he can do over the last couple of years. I've grown up watching him and I've seen how well he's played when he's on form. Thankfully he's been able to prove his fitness so now he can prove himself against France."

Of the game itself, Ringrose insists he will not be overawed by the French like Irish teams have been in the past, but says on past experience, they have earned the respect of the Irish.

"I was on the wrong side of a couple of results at U20 level, so we've got our fair share of beatings off them. We've got huge respect for them because we know how good they can be when they're on form."

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