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Sport

Ryan to captain Ireland against England in place of injured Sexton

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Autumn Nations Cup - Ireland v Wales - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - November 13, 2020 Ireland's James Ryan and Billy Burns in action with Wales' Josh Adams Pool via REUTERS/Brian Lawless/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland lock James Ryan will captain the side against England at Twickenham on Saturday in the Autumn Nations Cup in place of the injured Johnny Sexton.

“It is a huge honour for me, so I’m looking forward to it,” Leinster’s Ryan told a news conference on Tuesday.

“Probably the great thing about it is, I won’t be on my own - there’s guys like Peter O’Mahony there, Hendy (Iain Henderson), Earlsy (Keith Earls), a huge amount of experience.

“Johnny’s in (the training camp) for the week as well, so we’ll very much be driving things together this week, as we usually would.”

Ryan, who will win his 30th cap on Saturday, is only 24 years old, but assumed the leadership role last Friday when they beat Wales in Dublin in their opening Autumn Nations Cup game after Sexton went off early with a hamstring injury.

“I have got to look to do my job really effectively, hope to play well, not get sidetracked with all of the captaincy stuff because I am going to need to get my performance right, just like everybody else is going to get the performance right in order for us to get a result this weekend,” Ryan added.

England beat Ireland 24-12 in February in the Six Nations at Twickenham and then last month pipped them to the title on the delayed last day of the competition.

“We came on the wrong side of a result last time out, but I think as a group we’re making good progress. This weekend it’s a real test to see where we are at, coming up against the World Cup finalists,” Ryan said.

“It’s going to take such a big effort to get what you want out of it, so there’s always a little bit of fear but there’s also a lot of excitement. It’s a huge opportunity for us and we’re all massively excited for it.”

Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis

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