Gordon D'Arcy still sees room for improvement in Leinster's new centre partnership
The former Leinster player also spoke to Newstalk.com about Munster's emotional performance against Glasgow07:05 Wednesday 26 October 2016, 7:05 26 Oct 2016
Gordon D'Arcy insists Leinster's centre partnership will improve over time, but Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw have not yet settled into a pattern of play alongside one another.
Henshaw's arrival at Leinster over the summer came after a wonderful season with Connacht, which saw them go on to clinch the Pro12 title.
Ringrose was introduced to the senior team set-up after his impressive performances for the Irish U20s in 2015, but while that injection of fresh blood has revitalised Leinster to a certain extent, former centre Gordon D'Arcy thinks that they need to be given some time to bed in.
"I don’t think they have settled," D'Arcy told Newstalk.com. "They’ve done well and played OK. They’ve played for 80 minutes just three times together, one of which was the Munster game, and that was a good starting point. In the Castres game, they obviously built on that and the Montpellier game was just an outlier.
"It was on a big dirty pitch, playing against those big cumbersome backs. From a development point of view, I wouldn’t say there is any real progress that you could look at in a quantifiable way and say you could see this being built on from here. But [they played] another 80 minutes that were very good and looked promising."
Leinster dug deep to rescue a losing bonus point against Montpellier in France last weekend to remain top of their Champions Cup pool, and have made a good start to the domestic season, with five victories and just a solitary loss. However, D'Arcy believes that that there are more obstacles to overcome yet for his former team.
"There’ll be much tougher games with a lot more at stake at some stage in the next four games," he continued. "There’s going to be a win or lose match to get out of the group, so there’ll be a lot more pressure in that.
"It was good for younger players that haven't lived through other matches that I would have taken for granted, so it is a good learning curve for them."
Gordon D'Arcy speaking at the launch of Irish rugby coverage this autumn on Sky Sports. Image: Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
D'Arcy also paid tribute to Munster's performance against Glasgow, and said that the result was an appropriate way to honour the memory of Irish rugby legend Anthony Foley.
"I thought it was a brilliant performance all round. You would be remiss in trying to go into the individuals, I think they all knew what they wanted to do. They wanted to give Anthony a send-off, and they did that in spades.
"I didn’t have any fear that emotion would take over with this game. Obviously, after this happening and the impact Axel has had on the rugby community, if ever there was something to focus the mind, this was it."
The attention now switches to Ireland's upcoming clashes with New Zealand this November. Speaking at the launch of Sky Sports autumn rugby coverage, D'Arcy looked ahead to the first clash with the All-Blacks happening on November 5, before Joe Schmidt's side welcome them to the Aviva Stadium on November 26.
"We are going to be the underdog heading into this game, and then you have two camps. One is talking about legacy, and talking about being the best team ever. The other is searching for a first win against the All Blacks.
"It’s a very intriguing couple of matches back-to-back. You look for advantages in these games anywhere you can find them. Players who played in that team in 2013 will say that this can be done. This isn’t impossible."
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