An abrasive prop with a penchant for ball carrying, PADDY RYAN was the last of 13 Wallabies to make their Test debut in 2012.
Ryan made his debut from the bench against France in Paris last year and, in doing so, became the first additional prop on the bench to be injected into a Test, under the new IRB rules which enlarged match night squads to 23 players.
The alteration was made in order to allow two props to be fielded among the certified replacements.
The unique circumstances aside, there was little doubt that Ryan would make the Test grade, having had a great grounding at the NSW Waratahs since his introduction to the side in 2011. Working alongside Test regulars Benn Robinson, Sekope Kepu and Al Baxter provided benefit to the 24-year-old NSW country product who had loomed as a potential Test player ever since his selection for the Australian Schoolboys in 2006.
He became a regular fixture in the Waratahs match-day 22 in 2013, featuring in 15 games and notching the first two tries of his Super Rugby career. While the Waratahs enjoyed some memorable wins in 2013, the highlight of his season was surely starting for his province against the British & Irish Lions in June.
Schooled at St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill, whose first XV was also once graced by Kurtley Beale; Ryan made his mark both at schoolboy level, and then once he left – winning NSW Premierships both in Colts and then at senior level with Sydney University. His Rugby career was put on ice for his first year out of school, when he spent time in Ireland, but he was fast-tracked into the Junior Waratahs development system, before being called on to make his Super Rugby debut in 2011.
Ryan featured three times for the Waratahs during his freshman Super Rugby season, which concluded with a start against the Blues in a Qualifying final at Eden Park. He built on that experience last term where injury dogged Kepu, giving Ryan additional exposure as a starting tight-head.
Included through The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship for development purposes, Ryan was released to feature for Sydney University in another Shute Shield Final (NSW Premiership) but trained and travelled with the Qantas Wallabies throughout last year’s Test schedule – in a process not entirely dis-similar to that which speeded the development of fellow Waratah Sitaleki Timani in 2011.
FAST FACT: When Paddy Ryan made his Test debut in Paris, he became the 866th Wallaby, and the 13th to be introduced during a disjointed 2012 season where the Wallabies were forced to field 41 players across the 15 Tests that were played, primarily due to injury. Ryan became the 46th new player to be introduced to Test Rugby through the five-year tenure of Robbie Deans as Wallabies coach.