Paddy Ryan ... credits chilling out for his success. Photo: Brendan Esposito
PARIS: Debutant prop Paddy Ryan credits chilling out for his stellar rise from fringe Waratah to Wallaby this year.
The Tamworth-raised forward, who will start from an enlarged eight-man bench in the Wallabies Test against France on Saturday (Sunday, 7am, Sydney time), said a decision to enjoy the last year on his Waratahs contract was the key to unlocking his form.
''At the start of the year I knew it was my last year contracted and I'd only played three games the previous year and I just figured I was really going to enjoy it as much as I could,'' Ryan said. ''I went well at training at the start, I was scrummaging well, [former coach Michael Foley] seemed pretty happy with me and it just flowed on from there, so I've really tried to keep that going.''
Ryan, a product of rugby nursery St Joseph's College, also took his lead from Waratahs internationals past and present, including Al Baxter, Sekope Kepu and Benn Robinson.
''I was a little bit more serious last year, got a bit concerned about things I didn't need to and I really felt I've learnt a lot from [those] guys … the way they play but also the way they approach their rugby,'' he said. ''There's three pretty different approaches and they all seem to play well, they're all really good props.''
Ryan, 24, is one of many Wallabies whose run out on to the Stade de France pitch on Saturday will be their first. His parents are flying over to watch the match.
''At the start of the year I was talking about just getting into the Waratahs team so to be here now is pretty surprising and very exciting,'' he said. ''I've got no idea what to expect, I know it'll be tougher and faster than anything at Super Rugby level but there's still an unknown.''
From rookie to veteran, reserve hooker Stephen Moore said he was delighted to be back in the Wallabies jersey after a hamstring injury threatened his international season and thwarted his march to the title of Australia's most capped hooker.
''It's obviously difficult watching the boys, particularly doing well in the last few Tests, so it's good to be back now and I've got to try and keep that consistency from the last game,'' Moore said.
He is one of the few survivors from Australia's resounding 2010 Test victory against France and said the Wallabies needed to pull out all stops. ''We need to replicate our performance against the All Blacks, I think, because the things that we did well there are going to be important again,'' Moore said. ''Whilst we only drew that match we did a lot well and it's those things that are going to help us … Our start to the game was really good and our intensity around the breakdown was really good, and those sort of things are important in any Test match.''