Do yourself a favour if you want to feel really good. Fire up Google and enter in the following:
“Rugby, Jordan Larmour”. It is an unusual name, yes, but when you see some of the recent footage of this young player you will be enthralled and certain that soon the name will be as well known as some of the greats in the game.
Maybe that’s a bit premature because to attain greatness in rugby, massive potential is not enough. The history of the game is littered with the bones of wonderful but unfulfilled talent. Sometimes it was bad luck. Sometimes it was a lack of dedication or courage. Sometimes it was the blindness of dull coaches and selection panels. Jordan Larmour? I wonder will his gemstone quality get properly polished and dazzle the rugby world? Time will tell.
In Ireland the toughest and nastiest fixture is, and always will be, Leinster versus Munster. Leinster, centred in Dublin are the city slickers. They are the glamour boys and, traditionally, from the varsity set. Munster, centered in Cork and Limerick have had a fair share of this but also have a working class, artisan flavour about them. They do not like each other. There is an old joke about a voice in Thomond Park heard shouting, “Kick ahead Munster!”, and another adding quickly “Yes, any head!”
Remember they beat the All Blacks in 1978 and kept them scoreless. You know about it when you line up for Leinster against Munster.
The two Provinces played recently in a cracker of a game that was set alight by this young player. He had done the same earlier against Ulster. The evidence is there in the highlights.
He is not big and strong but looks compact. However when he gets the ball in space, or even in no space, he morphs into something else. He steps dramatically off either foot and possesses acceleration that makes the rest on the field look like they are in slow motion or wallowing in mud. He also has vision as his footwork takes him instinctively from the heavy traffic into the wide spaces. From here he beats defenders effortlessly by putting them off balance and moving away.
They say Sir Stanley Matthews did this at top level in soccer for over forty years. He made people commit and then wrong footed them and had the acceleration to speed away. Nobody ever fully mastered him. Look at the footage and remember it is a crunch game. They are calling him the new Christian Cullen and there is no higher compliment than that. He is just 20 years of age.
When the great Ollie Campbell tipped me off about this kid I watched the try in wonder and awe. Then, for a moment, I felt I had seen him before. What was going on? I didn’t recognise the name at all. Then it dawned on me. Jordan Larmour looks like Brent Russell Mark 2. I even Googled, “Brent Russell, the Pocket Rocket” and it confirmed my impression. He is that explosive and talented. The likeness in their play is uncanny.
Then I remembered the sad way that Brent’s talent was wasted by South Africa. I bet Joe Schmidt and Ireland don’t make the same mistake. Have a look and tell me what you think.