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"Ridiculously good" - Shane Jennings lavishes praise on James Ryan


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It wasn't quite the margin expected pre-match but the one thing that we'll remember from the 2017-18 European Rugby Champions Cup is that 'Leinster' is the name etched on the trophy.

A narrow, battling win on Saturday in Bilbao over Racing 92 means Leinster are now up to the very top of the all-time list of European Cup winners, equaling Toulouse's tally and potentially setting up the start of a successful dynasty given how many young, homegrown players were involved. 

Former Leinster flanker Shane Jennings and ex-Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan joined Joe on Monday Night Rugby to reflect on Saturday's victory.   

"Ridiculously good. Genuinely," said Jennings of young talent James Ryan who has yet to lose a game of professional rugby and started in Bilbao.

"There was a picture and it was when [Remi] Tales was taking the drop goal and I think it's such a brilliant picture when you're part of a team. There were four or five guys going for the block. One was James Ryan, Jack Conan, [Scott] Fardy, Jamison Gibson-Park all just putting their bodies on the line. But it just epitomised the impact the subs had.

"For James Ryan to put in a shift like that and be up trying to block a goal speaks a lot about him. He's pretty remarkable, you know." 

Lauding the impact second-row Ryan has made for Ireland and Leinster at such an early point in his career, Jennings added that the youngster "deserves so much credit". 

He also praised flanker Dan Leavy, who added to a part in Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam-winning campaign by also being pivotal for Leinster.

"He's showed he's got a bit of dog with him, confrontational and physically up for the game again and I just think they deserve to much credit because they've put in big performances where people were concerned that the likes of Sean O'Brien might not be around and then Josh [van der Flier] goes down injured, and Dan Leavy's been absolutely exceptional and the likes of James Ryan as well and taking his opportunity."

He also praised Leinster head coach Leo Cullen for his "leadership" and the way he has worked in tandem with Stuart Lancaster.


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