Sunday 22 April 2018

Fresh Moore injury concern opens door for 'massive leader' White

Injuries have prevented Marty Moore from playing this season
Injuries have prevented Marty Moore from playing this season
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster coach Leo Cullen has confirmed that Marty Moore has suffered a fresh foot injury that ruled him out of Friday's pre-season friendly against Ulster.

The tighthead prop has yet to play this season after undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of last season and his return has been further delayed by this latest blow which has left him wearing a protective boot.

He is back with Ireland this week ahead of the final pre-season friendly before Joe Schmidt names his 31-man squad for the World Cup and, with Nathan White having gotten another chunk of game time under his belt at the weekend against Munster after making his Ireland debut in the win over Scotland, Moore is in danger of missing out.

Much will depend on his availability for Saturday's clash with Wales, but with Mike Ross having started every game under Schmidt to date, it appears the window is narrowing.


"Marty was due to play with us last weekend but he had a problem with his foot that flared up," Cullen said. "He has been under the national (medical) eyes since and hasn't been back with us. I am not sure where he sits or whether he is going to be involved with Ireland this week.

"That would have been part of the original plan but I am not sure where he is at this moment in time.

"He had an issue that flared up with his foot but I don't think it's too serious."

One man's difficulty opens up an opportunity for another and Connacht coach Pat Lam believes White is perfectly placed to make a late bid for final inclusion in Schmidt's panel.

"He's a massive leader. The Leinster boys know that as well from when he was there," he said.

"He was a captain back in New Zealand for Waikato. He's a leader around Connacht.

"Certainly he was in line to play against South Africa last year but for the injuries. Off the field and across the squad he brings more than that and then on the field, the scrum... he is a rock as a tighthead.

"His knowledge of the game is right up there. He has timed his run back from injury right at a time when there are concerns with some others."

Meanwhile, Cullen wants Gordon D'Arcy to see out his career at Leinster if he is not selected for the World Cup. The centre is contracted until the end of October.

"I would have to have a good chat with Gordon about it," he said. "Having a guy of his experience would be invaluable for some of the guys in the squad."

Irish Independent

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