Tuesday 17 October 2017

Fogarty urges patience on Porter move to tighthead

Leinster's Andrew Porter. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Leinster's Andrew Porter. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster are excited about what Andrew Porter can do for them on the tighthead side of the scrum, but John Fogarty has insisted that patience is required as the powerful youngster continues to learn on the job.

An explosive loosehead who lit up Ireland U-20s' run to the 2016 World Cup final, the 21-year-old moved across the front-row last season and finished up with two Ireland caps after Joe Schmidt took him on the summer tour of the USA and Japan.

Scrum coach Fogarty is encouraged by the St Andrew's graduate's development, but he is urging caution about expecting too much too soon from the talented youngster who came off the bench to replace Michael Bent in Saturday's win over the Dragons in the Guinness PRO14.

"We have to be conscious of where he is in his development," Fogarty said.

"Moving across to tighthead was a good move for him, going on tour with Ireland was great. It gave him (scrum coach) Greg Feek and exposed him to what is involved in the Ireland set-up.

"He still needs development. He is not the finished article. But he is very far down the line, considering where he started. He is a little high on bind. He needs to get into the scrum with a better profile.

"He's got a lot of energy for the game outside his main role. That is important for this season."

Fears

There have been fears that a move into the arduous and energy-sapping role of tighthead might have diminished Porter's ability to contribute in open play, but Fogarty doesn't share them.

"It doesn't seem to have compromised him too much," he said.

"The nature of playing tighthead is that you are going to tire more quickly than playing at loosehead.

"Very few times a tighthead or lock will finish the game. He has a huge engine, an enormous capacity for load in the gym, and he has that power. He is a freak in that sense."

Leinster want to get to a position where Porter is in a position to dove-tail with Tadhg Furlong who has accumulated a large amount of experience in a short amount of time.

The Wexford man's absence through injury should afford him some valuable opportunities in the early stages of the season.

"There is a huge amount of experience involved in the front-row," Fogarty said.

"You are put in different scenarios and you learn through feel much of the time. There is only so much you can learn in live sessions because they are controlled.

"His patience and his composure as a tighthead and his knowledge are not as great as Tadhg's. A certain amount of it has to do with shape and power.

"The key is the experience you have against the best teams."

Irish Independent

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