Saturday 16 December 2017

Moore plans to stay put at Leinster

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has already turned his back on a move overseas.
Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has already turned his back on a move overseas.

Martin Moore is ready to disappoint a host of English and French clubs and commit his future to home province Leinster.

The highly-rated tighthead prop has emerged as a target for Exeter Chiefs and Racing Metro among other interested European suitors.

But the talented 22-year-old has revealed he expects to complete terms on a new deal with Leinster in the near future.

Moore's revelation comes as a further boost to the Irish Rugby Football Union after Munster's Ireland and British Lions scrum-half Conor Murray rejected overseas advances to sign a two-year contract extension this week.

Back-rowers Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien remain the most likely out-of-contract Ireland stars to move abroad next season.

But IRFU bosses will hope two big boosts in the space of a week in Moore and Murray can help them persuade more senior players to commit their rugby futures to Ireland.

Moore said: "I'm enjoying my rugby here, this is where I grew up and this is where I want to play my rugby.

"So hopefully in the near future we'll have something done and I can just focus on my rugby and that won't be an issue.

"At this stage, offers-wise isn't something that comes into it.

"Right now it's all about the rugby, and this is where it is."

Six-try Leinster hammered Northampton in Heineken Cup Pool One action at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.

Jim Mallinder's men were as stunned as they were furious with their capitulation, but will draw on their group stage experiences of last season.

Saints slumped to a 25-6 home defeat to Ulster in December last term, only to pull off a remarkable 10-9 victory at Ravenhill in the return contest a week later.

Former Castleknock College man Moore admitted Leinster are extremely wary of Northampton's Ulster factor this weekend.

He said: "We're all very aware of the fact they will bring a big backlash against us.

"Their fans gave them a tough time so we know the job in hand.

"We've got to make sure we don't fall victim to that and do the same thing we did last week. If we come out of that first half, we can deal with their threats up front and that go-forward they thrive off, then we'll have a chance.

"We almost played them at their game with that go-forward last week and maybe that can work again."

Moore is locked into his senior breakthrough year with Leinster and he admitted he relished the responsibility of carrying the RaboDirect Pro12 torch during Ireland's autumn international schedule.

He said: "We had 18 away in national camp so there was a big onus on us to keep the momentum going.

"We had some tough wins but that kept us going and kicked us on.

"Opportunities come along and you've just got to take them when they come. Especially as a tight forward it's all about game time, so I've been fortunate with that.

"Training against lads like Jack McGrath and Cian Healy, there's not going to be many tougher out there, s o that definitely gives you confidence to take a step up."

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