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RYAN TALKS THE TALK AND WALKS THE WALK.

OFF the pitch Donnacha Ryan will talk you to death but on it he will outfox you if you give him any chance.

Ryan (left) has embraced his surprise move to Paris last summer, the consequence of the IRFU's refusal to offer him a suitable deal.

The 34-year-old Tipp man's decision to leave Munster behind was vindicated in Bordeaux when his new team beat his old one in the Champions Cup semis.

Now Ryan comes up against an old foe - and an old friend - in Devin Toner. They were second row comrades in Chicago as Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time but in Bilbao they will engage in a high-stakes game of lineout poker.

Toner describes Ryan as an "everyday nice guy" - which is a long way from the pitchside view of him as a passionate performer.

"I got on really well with him," he added.

"He'd talk the hind legs off a donkey. Even if he was injured and not involved, he would always be helping out, always be in your ear, telling you what might work, what mightn't work. He does a lot of work on video as well. He spends a lot of time looking over past lineouts and what went well, what worked, what didn't.

"He has a lot of years of experience doing that sort of stuff. I know he has done it on me, on our lineout for years.

"When we were at Ireland, we'd be coming up with calls and he would say, 'Oh yeah, you did that two years ago with Leinster'. He puts his homework in."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 10, 2018
Words:268
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