James John Ryan, born on July 24, 1996, is an exceptional Irish professional rugby union player who has made a significant impact both at the club level with Leinster and on the international stage with the Ireland national team.
Ryan's rugby journey began during his time at St. Michael's College in Dublin, where he showcased his talent and leadership skills. He captained Ireland at the U18 level and also led the Leinster U18s, U19s, and U20s teams. He played his club rugby for University College Dublin (UCD) in the All-Ireland League (AIL) 1A, further honing his skills and gaining recognition within the Leinster rugby setup.
In 2015-2016, Ryan captained the Ireland U20 team, leading them to their best-ever finish at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship. Under his leadership, the team achieved a historic victory over New Zealand U20 for the first time and finished as runners-up to England U20.
Ryan's talent and potential were quickly recognized, and he was offered a place in the Leinster academy for the 2016-2017 season. However, his progress was hampered by injuries, which limited his playing time. Despite the setbacks, he impressed the coaching staff and was awarded a full senior contract ahead of the 2017-2018 season, skipping the usual three-year academy pathway.
His professional debut came with Munster, where he played against the Ireland U20 team while recovering from a hamstring injury. Soon after, he made his competitive debut for Leinster in September 2017, making an immediate impact off the bench.
Ryan's outstanding performances and potential did not go unnoticed by the national team selectors. In June 2017, he received his first call-up to the senior Ireland squad for the Summer Tour to the United States and Japan. On June 10, he made his debut for Ireland, coming off the bench and scoring a try against the United States. His debut was noteworthy as he became the first Irish player since 2012 to make his senior international debut before featuring for his provincial team.
Since then, Ryan has become a key figure in Irish rugby. He has amassed a significant number of caps for the national team and has consistently performed at a high level. Known for his strength, athleticism, and work rate, Ryan has established himself as a formidable lock, providing stability and physicality to the Ireland pack.
In addition to his contributions at the international level, Ryan has been an integral part of Leinster's success in domestic and European competitions. He has featured in multiple European Champions Cup campaigns and played a vital role in the team's achievements.
Ryan's exceptional performances have earned him several accolades and recognition within the rugby community. In 2019, he was named the Irish Rugby Players' Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, highlighting his impact and potential as a rising star in the sport.
In February 2020, Ryan signed his first national contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), committing to a three-year deal until the end of the 2022-2023 season. This further solidified his importance to the national team's future plans and showcased the trust and belief in his abilities.
As of now, James Ryan continues to make significant contributions to both Leinster and the Ireland national team, with his powerful presence in the second row and his leadership abilities making him a vital asset on the field. His determination, skill, and commitment to the sport make him an exciting player to watch, and he is undoubtedly one of the rising stars in Irish rugby.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Ryan has been named in the squad for Ireland.
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|2016 - present|
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|2017 - present|
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|2022 - present|
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|2016 - 2017|
|St Michael's College
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