Autumn Nations Cup: Leinster lock James Ryan to captain Ireland against England at Twickenham

James Ryan
James Ryan will be winning his 30th Ireland cap against England
Autumn Nations Cup: England v Ireland
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday 21 November Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and Radio Ulster, and online with live text commentary

Leinster's James Ryan will captain Ireland in Saturday's Autumn Nations Cup game against England at Twickenham.

The 24-year-old lock has been selected to wear the armband by head coach Andy Farrell with regular skipper Johnny Sexton missing the game through injury.

Ryan took on the captaincy when Sexton went off in Friday's win over Wales, but this is the first time he will lead his country from the start.

"It's a huge honour for me and I'm looking forward to it," Ryan said.

"The great thing is I won't be on my own. I will have guys like Peter O'Mahony, Iain Henderson and Keith Earls there, a huge amount of experience, and Johnny is there too. They will make my job easier.

"Even when Johnny is captain, we drive at the week as a collective. There is a core group of us and that has been the same this week."

Having captained the Ireland Under-20 team to a World Junior Championship final in 2016, Ryan had been tipped as a future Ireland skipper before Tuesday's announcement.

The lock has insisted that getting the armband will not prove a distraction to his preparations for facing the World Cup runners-up on their home ground.

"To be honest it's the same for me this week as it is every week," he continued.

"I'm going to look to do my job effectively, hope to play well and not get side-tracked with all the captaincy stuff because I'm going to have to get my performance, right just like everybody else is going to have to in order for us to get a result this weekend.

"There's probably a little bit of fear in every Test match at this level, whether it's going to Paris or going to Twickenham.

"The level is so high, it's going to take such a big effort to get what you want from 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."

Farrell will name his Ireland team to face England on Wednesday afternoon.

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