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Kidney calls on Strauss to prove his three-year residency was worth wait

THE time has come around for Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss to prove his decision to leave the home comforts of South Africa for an adventure at the other end of the world was worth the while and the wait.

THE three-year residency rule, which makes him eligible to play international rugby for Ireland, has been spent convincing Leinster and Europe the former flanker is now one of the top hookers in the northern hemisphere.

At a time when All Blacks coach Steven Hansen has become embroiled in a spat with Australia over the career choice of New Zealanders to play for the Wallabies, there was a softer focus on Strauss when he was listed in Ireland's November squad.

"I respect the fact that people have their views. Our job is to get the best team out to play for Ireland. It would be narrow-minded not to look at him," said coach Declan Kidney. "Richardt, in fairness to him, has bought into everything Leinster are doing and I will say one thing about him - you can't coach attitude," he said.

In his time at Leinster, Strauss has amassed 70 caps, 54 as a starter, won two Heineken Cups and has even been mentioned in not-so-hushed tones as a bolter for the 2013 British & Irish Lions.

"He is a different player to what he was two years ago. He has bulked up quite a bit. I think his performances speak for themselves. We know what he can do.


"We know what and how he can do. We have seen over the past two years. We have been communicating with him quiet strongly. What he can do for the team is bring the right attitude."

Strauss has moved straight into the second slot at hooker right behind Rory Best and in front of his Leinster colleague Sean Cronin. And Munster pair Damien Varley and Mike Sherry.

It is a testimony to Strauss's work-rate and commitment that he has forced his way into part of the Ireland squad where quality is not an issue.

However, Best was seen as the 'best' hooker in the Six Nations last season and a firm favourite for the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.

Could it be that Best's greatest danger to making the next step in his career will come from a man on his coat-tails in the race to play for Ireland in November and the Six Nations?