Garry Ringrose spent most of the Six Nations playing alongside Bundee Aki, but no sooner had the dust settled on Ireland’s Triple Crown success than the middle pair plotted each other’s downfall.
It’s not uncommon for players to switch quickly between Club and Country modes, but having worked so closely together on both the practice and field, Ringrose and Aki know each other’s games inside out, so that they certainly need to worry about tweaking certain triggers when they collide.
At Leinster, many of the systems are very similar to those in Ireland and while the calls may be different, Ringrose and his Leinster midfield partner Robbie Henshaw had to be wary of Aki’s inside lane last week and they will have to be again in the round of 16 second leg on Friday night at the Aviva Stadium against Connacht.
“I don’t think we spoke between us, nothing bad anyway because it started quickly,” Ringrose smiles.
“Once or twice both sides had to catch their breath as best they could.
You just flick the switch because you know you have to do it, and that’s what matters.
“You do what you can to create chances on offense and then be prepared for the threats defensively. There aren’t many gaps in his game anyway, if any, so I wouldn’t try to think too much and try to be the best version of what we can do with Leinster and challenge him any way we can.
Last week, Stuart Lancaster conceded that Leinster and Ireland are more closely linked than ever, with Andy Farrell and Mike Catt’s “language” very similar to that of their former England boss.
From a player’s perspective, that helps make the transition back into the Leinster lineup all the more seamless.
“In terms of cohesion it definitely helps playing with a lot of guys (for both teams) and again it’s challenges with the calls and maybe philosophies on one or two different things,” Ringrose said.
“When you’ve been with Ireland for so long, you instinctively do certain things in a certain way.
“It’s just little subtleties but the challenge is when you’re done with Ireland you have time off but you start to tick things off in your head and start thinking about things that you might need to do differently, calls to order you may be asked.
“So, it’s a challenge of course, but probably even more of a challenge if you’re not paying attention and consciously thinking about it and thinking about it and then challenging yourself in training.
“If you do that, it’s a bit easier in the game. Maybe it’s not too difficult because you talk about it consciously, but you would still have gotten stuff from that Connacht game that hopefully we’ll be better at afterwards.
“I think it just mentally isolates it as a game you absolutely must win. It’s a play-off mentality. Try to win at all costs.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/champions-cup/garry-ringrose-not-overthinking-bundee-akis-inside-track-on-leinster-centres-41548709.html Garry Ringrose not “overthinking” Bundee Aki’s inside lane on Leinster centers