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Representing his roots a key driver for Wexford Lion Tadhg Furlong

“Without all those things falling in line for you and the support they give you, I wouldn’t be here.”

THERE MUST BE a few paragraphs of official Lions protocol somewhere that Tadhg Furlong broke with the first few words to the press in Carton House today.

Namely, his passionate endorsement of a product that has no commercial ties with the blue chip-magnet quadrennial tourists.

I got my first Wexford strawberries of the year last week, I was home for a bit, tasted as good as ever!”

Don’t worry, Furlong didn’t volunteer the information because of any vested interest in the berry industry. It was just the response to a friendly opening question. That’s the thing about the affable 24-year-old tighthead, he’s utterly genuine. Especially when it comes to his roots.

After making his Test debut less than two years ago, Furlong called himself ‘a proud representative of New Ross’ as he became the club’s first full international. With Leinster, he may be one of many current and former Lions, but his roots are deep in non-traditional rugby country and with his four-crested gear on he’s proud to be able to represent his heritage from Whiddy Island through Campile to New Ross.

“It’s something that motivates me a lot to play rugby, is where I come from, the people I represent and the family back home, the locality… I talked before about that community and parochial sense and that’s something that drives me on.

Tadhg Furlong Furlong makes a break in training today. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Everyone is different with stuff that drives them on, but it’s probably the thing that spurs me on. Look, of course you think of those people I’ve played rugby with and who have supported me since I was five years of age.

“You always think of them and you think of your country and your province as well, because without all those things falling in line for you and the support they give you, I wouldn’t be here.”

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Sean Farrell

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