Sunday 19 November 2017

Tadhg's now among the best in the world

Tight head shines as last Test drawn

Tadhg Furlong takes a breather during the drawn third Test in Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday
Tadhg Furlong takes a breather during the drawn third Test in Eden Park, Auckland, on Saturday
Tadhg Furlong lines up beside his south-east neighbour, the Tullow Tank aka Seán O'Brien, prior to Saturday's draw with New Zealand

Brendan Furlong

After three tests against the All Blacks, Tadhg Furlong has emerged as a world class tight head prop.

Furlong, who started all three tests, has won glowing accolades from the expert rugby correspondents covering the Lions tour which ended in dramatic fashion as the sides played out a 15-15 draw, ending the series with one win apiece to go alongside that share of the spoils in the final test.

At the end there was confusion as to whether the Lions had conceded a penalty for offside, particularly after referee Roman Poite blew for the offence originally and awarded a penalty.

After studying replays though, Poite decided that the offside was accidental, so a scrum was awarded instead and the Lions held out.

Yet again, Furlong played more than an hour in what was always going to be his biggest test in his young career.

Having improved through the series, Furlong handled the scrum like an experienced prop, enjoying a steady scrum while also getting the pressure on at crucial scrum times during his stay on the pitch.

It was difficult to believe that a prop could have such an impact around the pitch, but Furlong from his early handling and drives took on the All Blacks which was reminiscent of his display against the same opposition in Chicago, when he announced his arrival on the international stage.

His tackle count was high and it was no surprise to hear the pundits rate him among the top five Lions on the tour.

When the Lions needed strength at scrum time, Furlong delivered, producing a stunning third test, after what was a hugely demanding tour.

Against the best front row in the world, Furlong came through with immense credit, marking the series by being recognised right now as one of the best props in the business.

Furlong has certainly put the small parish of Horeswood and the New Ross club - where he was introduced to the game - on the world map, while his current club, Clontarf, and Leinster must also be mighty proud of his progress on the world stage.

He will now take a well-earned rest before getting back into the thick of it when autumn arrives.

New Ross Standard

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