Thursday 22 February 2018

Moore keeping mum on collapsed Munster move as he catches up with Irish cousins

Moore’s Irish father Tom will be watching from the stand today Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Moore’s Irish father Tom will be watching from the stand today Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Stephen Moore relishes every opportunity he gets to play in Ireland, and when he leads his Australian team out onto the Aviva Stadium pitch this evening, his proud Irish father will be watching on from the stands.

The Wallabies' most capped hooker was born in Saudi Arabia but his father Tom hails from Galway and his mother Maureen from Mayo, while two of Moore's sisters were also born in Ireland. Moore lived in Galway until he was five before the family moved to Australia.

His Irish roots mean that these kind of weeks are busier than most as Moore attempts to catch up with as many of his cousins as possible.

That task might have been made easier had Moore moved to Munster last year before he signed a three-year contract with the Queensland Reds.

It was reported that the IRFU vetoed Moore's move to Munster and although performance director David Nucifora has since come out and categorically denied that he blocked the transfer, when it was put to the player yesterday, his 'no comment' suggested that there might be more to whatever went on behind the scenes.

"Oh mate, I'd prefer not to talk about that at the moment, if that's alright. I think I'd prefer to just focus on the game tomorrow," he said.

It remains to be seen whether Moore will shed further light on the situation after this evening's game but either way, it won't detract from what will be another proud day for the Moore family.

"It's a busier week than usual," he said. "There's lots of people to catch up with. I tried to do a bit of that on Wednesday, so that was nice.

"Growing up not seeing a lot of my cousins for most of my life, it's nice to be able to see them when I come to Dublin. That was nice this week.

"With mum and dad it's bit of an extra-special week, dad will be in the crowd tomorrow so that's something that will mean a lot to me."

Like Ireland, the Wallabies have gone through their own transitional period since last year's World Cup.

Losing some of the more experienced players from their squad has been part of the process and after a difficult year, since they have arrived in this part of the world at the beginning of the month, they have shown plenty of signs that they are back to their best.

"We played some good rugby during the(home) series against England, we just didn't win any of the games," the skipper insisted.

"I think they played exceptionally well over the three Tests and deserved to win. It was a disappointing way to start the year but I think we've focused hard on our preparation every week and tried to improve that every week and find a way to prepare as best as we possibly can.

"New Zealand are still clearly out on their own and that says a bit about the (Ireland's) performance in Chicago but I think every team realistically on their day can perform against any of the other teams. We know that and we've seen that.

"We haven't talked too much about the Grand Slam on this trip. We've introduced 12 or 13 new players to the team this year alone and I think those players have really stepped up and done a really good job for us."

Australia will get a chance to avenge their whitewash defeat to England next weekend but for now, the focus is very much on a different revenge mission as the 2013 defeat in Dublin is still fresh in the memory.

"They've probably been in a similar place to us in terms of losing some players that have been around for a long time," Moore said of Ireland.

"Last year at the World Cup, we had players like Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper who had played 100 Tests and are now not part of the team.

"They went through the same thing. They have evolved over that time (since 2013), just like any other team.

"I think they've got a very clear way of how they want to play the game and they've done that really well."

Irish Independent

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