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Catching Up With John Ryan

22nd September 2015 By Munster Rugby

Catching Up With John Ryan

From Berrings in Co. Cork, prop John Ryan looks to build on a strong showing last season that saw him make 20 appearances and win his first European start.

From Berrings in Co. Cork, prop John Ryan looks to build on a strong showing last season that saw him make 20 appearances and win his first European start.

In his time with CBC the prop, who can play tight and loose-head, played for Munster Schools and went on to represent the province at U19 and U20 level, also winning inclusion in the 2011 International Club XV side while playing for UCC.

Making his Munster debut against Cardiff Blues in September 2011, the 27 year old’s representation has steadily increased with each season and 2014/15 saw him make his most appearances in any one season, including his first European start against Clermont in December and his first Munster try against Ospreys in March.

“With James (Cronin) and Killer (Dave Kilcoyne) both picking up injuries last year I got a good run at loosehead. With other injuries (Stephen Archer and BJ Botha) I also had to play at tighthead for one game and consistent games across the season gave me confidence which in turn helped me play better. Last season I started more games than I subbed and the coaches told me I was on a par with the internationals in the final stages of the season, saying it was a toss-up between the three of us for the PRO12 Final. Unfortunately I missed out on that day but it was still a good season for me overall.

“Some people say that having a load of competition is a bad thing for a player, but instead I think we are all driving each other on, always looking to outdo your competitor and that’s what makes us improve as players.”

With the strides made last season, it’s understandable that the Cork-man was hungry for on-field action sooner rather than later and was determined to hit the ground running on his return to pre-season at the beginning of August.

“It was bloody hard to switch off when the season was over. I had the taste of strong involvement last season and I was afraid that if I switched off too much the body might also switch off and I’d lose my fitness and my strength. I tipped away in my down time and wasn’t the only one. Most of the lads came back in serious shape for pre-season and that stood to us going forward.

“Even away on holidays I found myself doing something in the gym each day, a bit of cardio in the morning, relax in the afternoon and maybe a gym lift later on for some of the days. If anything I came back too light and had to do some extra Saturday work in the gym to put that back on.”

As he would have hoped for, Ryan was included in Anthony Foley’s first matchday squad of the season to face French Top 14 outfit Grenoble. With the Head Coach fielding a number of emerging talents from the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy, the Cork Constitution clubman found himself being one of the most experienced members of team.

“I do take on more of a leadership role with some of the younger lads, but I will never tell a back how to pass a ball. I give guidance in scrummaging and line outs – talking to front, second and back rows. Even the likes of Mike Sherry gets feedback from us as he wouldn’t have scrummed a lot in the last two years. That gets us used to each other and allows us to figure out what binds we want, etc. Outside of that, it’s important to keep communicating in defence, making sure everyone is talking and filling spaces in defence.”

Having already featured from the bench in Munster’s opening PRO12 game against Benetton Treviso, Ryan discusses his hopes for the coming season.

“With the World Cup fixtures the PRO12 season will be a bit stop-start in the coming weeks so the immediate thing is to get some game time, even if it’s club when there’s no PRO12. Game time is great to get the fitness up and from mid-October we’ve got 16 weekends in a row between Europe and the league so you want to start that fully up to speed.

“Looking farther ahead, I’d hope to get game time and experience across those 16 weeks and still have my hand up for selection when the business end of the season comes around.”

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