NZ Herald

Irish rugby legend Tony Ward has called on Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to have the “moral courage” to bring young fullback Jordan Larmour into the side.

Ward, who was a first-five for Ireland and the British and Irish Lions in the 1980s, has implored Schmidt to call up the 22-year-old Larmour, who he compared to Christian Cullen.

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“It is at fullback where the head coach will need to test his own mettle and, dare I suggest, his moral courage too,” Ward wrote inĀ The Irish Independent.

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Ward said incumbent fullback Rob Kearney is “the best fullback we have ever had”, but argued that Ireland needed “something different and in Larmour we have it in spades”.

“For Christian Cullen and more recently Damian McKenzie breaking through into the All Blacks, read Larmour in an Irish context now.

“In moving up a gear to face southern hemisphere opposition, having Larmour as the first name on the team sheet would make for a very real announcement of intent.”

Larmour, who has also played on the wing and in midfield for Ireland, was a standout in their 47-5 win over Samoa, which has led to more calls for the young fullback to start.

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Schmidt admitted after the Samoa game that Larmour was making a strong case for himself.

“I think Jordan keeps putting his hand up and that’s one thing we really like about him,” Schmidt said. “He puts his hand up no matter where he ends up.

“He’s a youngster who we try to have involved; we’re just not sure where sometimes. Sometimes he is a little bit maverick and he wanders around because he’s not quite sure he’s playing at any one point, but part of that is probably our fault because we keep swapping him around.

“But we swap him around because he’s so versatile and because his skill-set and his enthusiasm allow him to survive wherever we put him.”

This article first appeared on nzherald.co.nz and was republished with permission.

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