Saturday 19 October 2019

You'd like to see series decided in extra-time, says fans' favourite Furlong

Furlong: “We’ve three and a half weeks off from the time we land, I’m looking forward to catching up and doing a recap of the season.
Furlong: “We’ve three and a half weeks off from the time we land, I’m looking forward to catching up and doing a recap of the season." Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

He is looking forward to getting home to Wexford and tidying up some niggly injuries, but there must be part of Tadhg Furlong that wishes this season would never end.

Drawing the series was an anti-climactic conclusion, but when he finds a quiet moment to look back he'll do it with pride.

Saturday's game was his fifth time facing New Zealand; his record is played five, won two, drawn once and two defeats. Not many can claim a 50pc ratio against the All Blacks.

And his performance have propelled him to a point where his name rang out around Eden Park to the tune of Que Sera Sera.

Former England lock Ben Kay appears to be responsible for the song, which opens with the line 'Tadhg Furlong, Furlong; He's big and he's f***ing strong', and when the Leinster tighthead once again made a barrelling carry right at the heart of the New Zealand defence, he lived up to the ode.

"I got tweeted a video of fans singing it. It's pretty cool. Very humbling. It's hard to explain, having a song about you but it's pretty cool seeing that," he said as he reflected on a draw.

"It's tinged with a small bit of disappointment, that weird feeling coming off a draw in a Test series, but overall I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and made some really good friends.

"It's a weird one. We haven't won, but we haven't lost either. I'll probably look back and think it was a great achievement, coming here and pushing New Zealand so close in Eden Park; rebounding after a first-Test lost... but you'd like to see a clear winner at the end of the tour.

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"I don't think I would have liked to have been on the pitch for extra-time simply because I was so shattered but you'd like to see it resolved. That's me saying this now, I don't know if I'd feel the same way in a month or in 10, 20 years."

As the full-time whistle came after TJ Perenara was bundled into touch with the All Blacks close to the Lions' line, Furlong didn't quite know what to make of it all.

"There were attacking our tryline, weren't they? It went out and it was like, 'what do we do now?'," he recalled.

"You walk past the cup and you're like 'what happens here? What's the craic with this?'. 'Who's going to lift it, is it going to be a shared lift?'. 'The fireworks are going to be an interesting one here, lads'. That runs through your head."

He has enjoyed the experience and believes he will benefit from it when he returns to work in August to prepare to back up this outstanding first full campaign as a Test starter.

He'll get minor surgery on a thumb issue and plans to get home to Wexford to recuperate from a gruelling season.

"I've learnt a hell of a lot, been exposed to different coaching methods, players and ideas around the scrum and general field," he said.

"I don't think matches come much bigger than this one; especially the occasion and pressure that's on you, eyes from the four nations. I definitely grew within the tour.

"It's the sixth time I've played against (All Black loosehead) Joe Moody this year. It's pretty mad, isn't it? I shared a beer with him, had a chat, he's a good fella.

"I'm looking forward to not seeing him facing me in the scrum, not for the next little bit anyway. He's a hell of a scrummager.

"It's weird when you play the same prop four times in five weeks, so you're learning little things every time.

"He might bring something different, it's just constantly trying to adapt and problem solve on the pitch. I thought we did that well.

"We've three and a half weeks off from the time we land, I'm looking forward to catching up and doing a recap of the season and maybe watching these Test matches again, because you probably don't realise èverything that goes on when you're out there."

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