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'He contacted me and expressed his frustration': Schmidt welcomes Marty home

The prop has signed a two-year deal with Ulster.

NEVER HAS IRELAND’S front-row depth been quite as strong, and the news of Marty Moore’s impending return home further replenishes Joe Schmidt’s stocks.

18 months after announcing his decision to leave Leinster and seek new opportunities in the Aviva Premiership with Wasps, Moore will next season hope to relaunch his international career while wearing the Ulster white.

Marty Moore Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The tighthead prop, capped 10 times by Ireland, has been frustrated by a lack of game time over the last two seasons with Wasps having made just 34 appearances during his time at the Ricoh Arena.

The move home will see Moore reunited with Les Kiss and Jono Gibbes, both of whom he worked with in the past for Ireland and Leinster, and crucially end his international exile ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

“It was disappointing to see him go, I think he was disappointed at he time, he contacted me and expressed his own frustration with how things have panned out, at the same time I’ve stayed in contact with Marty and there’ll be competition in Ulster to drive him forward,” Schmidt said this afternoon.

“Two starts this year, about 200 minutes, it’s about him getting back into game rhythm.

“Sometimes it’s about trying to get established somewhere else. They’ve a history in the province they’re in or in Ireland, and have established themselves a little bit.

“When you go somewhere new you have to establish yourself a little bit and to try and force your way in, to get that continuity of games is quiet difficult.”

Moore’s arrival is a huge boost for Ulster and, in time, he will likely add further competition in the Irish front row, with plenty of tight head options available to Schmidt in Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Porter, John Ryan and Michael Bent.

On the other side, there’s Cian Healy, Jack McGrath and Dave Kilcoyne vying for that number one jersey.

Cian Healy and Marty Moore Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I met up with him for a coffee a few weeks ago and he was telling me he was thinking along those lines,” Healy said earlier when asked about the return of his former Leinster team-mate.

“And it’s positive to have another prop back on Irish shores. With the competition that’s there it’s just bred it more and more and lads want to take a chance and have a pop at people.

“The more competitive the training sessions get, the better. You’ve got academy lads bulling up and wanting to take us on.

“They’re not sheepish any more, they’re not backwards coming forwards. And that’s great. It’s good to see young lads doing that again.”

Selected by Schmidt again for Argentina, Healy has now firmly re-established himself as the first-choice loosehead, with Jack McGrath’s Lions hangover continuing.

“It’s only in the last while, since the start of October, that I’ve started to play a bit better and started to get on the ball a bit more, and have a bit more bounce about myself,” Healy says.

“And then there’s the little devil on your shoulder telling you ‘Jesus, this isn’t it, this is going to go up another level again’.

“And so it’s exciting but you still have to put a bit of an anchor on it and stick to the routine and stick to what is making that happen.”

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