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Confident Moore eager to take chance on big stage

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Rodney Ah You of Connacht. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Rodney Ah You of Connacht. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Leinster's Martin Moore. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Leinster's Martin Moore. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

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Rodney Ah You of Connacht. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

THE time for heroes and role models is over for Martin Moore because he could now be one of them.

WHAT a week it has been for the 22-year-old, receiving further evidence of his progress from Joe Schmidt's decision to include him as one of four props beside Mike Ross, Stephen Archer and Rodney Ah You in his extended 44-man Six Nations squad.

Mathematically, this gives him a minimum one-in-three chance of making his Ireland debut when you consider that Schmidt will give game time to the man chosen on the bench behind number one Ross.

Taken one-by-one, Moore was handed another vote of confidence by Leinster coach Matt O'Connor on Saturday when he was actually selected ahead of Ross against the Ospreys front row of Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Ryan Bevington.

"It really gives you that boost to push on when the coaches are giving you this chance," said Moore.

"I know people look at me sometimes at 22 and think: 'Is he ready?' For the coaches to say: 'yeah,' and put me out there is a real confidence boost.

"It is up to me to repay that show of trust."

It wasn't that long ago that Moore took a look-and-learn attitude to Jones, the premier tight-head in the northern hemisphere.

Survival

"He would have been one of those players over the last few years you look at," he said.

"He has dominated for the Lions this summer and on the Six Nations circuit. He is one of the people you look up to in a lot of ways.

"At this stage of my career, I have to put that aside and go about playing my own game.

"Coming into the game, after the first few scrums, we felt like we were in a good spot and we could really taken them on up front," he said before Ian Evans' dismissal turned the scrum into a survival zone for the Ospreys.

What a season it has been for Moore. This term, he has played 18 times already, ten from the start, two of them in the Heineken Cup at home to Castres and the Ospreys.

Munster's Archer, 25, has had a longer apprenticeship than Moore without having the same impact. Capped twice for Ireland, he has not shown the same security at the scrum.

He made his first Heineken Cup start at home to Edinburgh in October in his fifth season, his second at home to Perpignan, his third against Edinburgh.

Whipping

Connacht's Ah You, 25, has been a long-term project that has had his weight trimmed by the programme put in place by his forwards coach Dan McFarland through rigorous strength and conditioning and nutrition.

He was introduced as a replacement in Connacht's whipping by Saracens on Saturday afternoon, the scrum suffering from what looked like reduced power and technique in the absence of Nathan White.

This all leaves Moore's odds of reaching the pinnacle of the game looking closer than anyone would have forecasted at the start of the season.

"My aim at the moment is just the next game, no further than that really," he said.

It could be for the Irish Wolfhounds against the English Saxons at Kingsholm next Saturday.

It could even be against Scotland in the Six Nations on Sunday, February 2.


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