Meet impressive No 8 Caelan Doris, who is studying psychology alongside his rugby career

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Leinster and Ireland U20 back-row Caelan Doris

Date of birth 2 April 1998 Born Sligo Province Leinster Country Ireland Position Back-row

How old were you when you first played rugby?

Four or five, with Ballina. My brother is two years older and I went down with him. I also played Gaelic Football and soccer, but rugby was always No 1.

Have you always been a back-row?

I played a bit at second-row at Blackrock College and centre for Ballina, but once I went into the U15s I was a back-row.

No 8 is my favourite position. I like six as well but prefer No 8. Carrying, tackling, breakdown – those are probably the three most important parts of the game for a back-row and they’re my three favourite parts as well.

Who were your childhood heroes?

Jamie Heaslip would have been one of my favourite players, and Brian O’Driscoll. Outside Ireland, Kieran Read.

What Ireland representative honours do you have?

I played for Ireland U18 Schools, then they joined U18 Clubs and Schools together in my second year. I played Ireland U20 in my first year out of school and again this year.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

My dad, Chris, would be No 1. He used to play for Blackrock but had to give up because of injuries. He’s very supportive and offers guidance.

Also, Peter Smyth, my senior coach at Blackrock and then academy manager at Leinster. And Noel McNamara, who I had for Leinster U18, Ireland U18 and U20.

What are your goals for this season?

I’d like to be involved with the senior team and add to my (provincial) caps. There are so many back-rows at Leinster that I want to learn as much as I can off them.

Competition within the squad is what you want as it makes you push yourself harder and standards rise across the board.

How have you found senior rugby?

It is definitely a step up, speed-wise and physically. The more opportunity you get to play at that level, the quicker you adjust.

RW VERDICT: Doris made the senior Blackrock team aged 15 and stood out when leading Ireland U20 in a disappointing Junior World Cup campaign in the summer – no wonder Leinster have high hopes for the No 8, who is studying psychology at UCD.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 edition of Rugby World.

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