Marty Moore's form putting Mike Ross' future at Leinster in doubt
AN incredible Irish international run of 31 straight Test starts by Mike Ross is in jeopardy after Leinster coach Matt O'Connor declared that there is a potentially a "sea change" occurring at tight-head in the province.
With the Leinster coach widely expected to this afternoon promote Ross's Irish rival Marty Moore from the bench for tomorrow's Champions Cup RDS visit of Castres, the veteran Corkonian could miss out altogether as Tadhg Furlong is being groomed for a bench spot.
This could cause a major headache for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who has relied upon the 35-year-old in every one of his games in charge, not even trusting deputies against minnows such as Georgia, Samoa and Tonga.
Ross had been hoping for a two-year extension to his IRFU contract but was only offered a one-year deal and, even though this is a World Cup year, there are signs that Leinster, at least are starting to plan for life without him.
"It's about performance," said O'Connor, who confirmed that Moore has a good chance of starting and issued a warning to those who are not displaying consistent form.
"We've got a lot of really good guys in the environment. The responsibility on the bloke who pulls the shirt on is to make sure that he's good, to make sure he retains that shirt the following week.
"Whoever gets those opportunities in the front-row or the back-row or the midfield, they have to take those opportunities.
"If they do that, they'll more than likely keep their place in the team.
"If their performance wanes or is perceived not to be up to the standard, then they won't play."