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'It's great having that support at home, they're so invested in what I'm doing'

24-year-old Andrew Porter has been in good form for Leinster in recent weeks.

IN MOST OTHER provinces and clubs, the loss of Tadhg Furlong would be dearly felt and lamented.

But not quite in Leinster, where they have another tighthead of international quality in 24-year-old Andrew Porter, who has had a very impressive restart to the 2019/20 season as he has started both wins over Munster.

The 24-year-old has been excellent at scrum time, as well as delivering his usual levels of dynamism around the pitch, and it’s fair to say that Furlong hasn’t been hugely missed just yet as he continues to recover from his back issue.

leinsters-andrew-porter Andrew Porter has been in good form for Leinster. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Of course, Leinster want Furlong involved again as soon as possible, whether for this weekend’s Guinness Pro14 final or against Saracens in the Champions Cup quarter-final the following weekend. The Wexford man remains a vital cog in the Leinster machine.

For Porter, the chance to start some big games in recent weeks has been very welcome.

“I’m just trying to do my job,” he says. “As a tighthead, you’re expected to scrum first and then let everything else fall into place. I’m feeling good around the park, getting those good minutes under my belt.”

Porter still feels there’s more to come from him and Leinster, who “know we have another few gears left in us in terms of where we left off before all the Covid restrictions came in.

“We’re still looking to play to our best standards and looking to get a bit more out of ourselves.”

Like everyone else, Porter found last weekend’s semi-final against Munster very stop-start and he says there “wasn’t as much contact as the first game we played two weeks ago” due to Munster’s obvious change of tactics.

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But Porter points to Leinster conceding 14 penalties as being another big part of their failure to “get into that flow in terms of our ruck and our carry,” so there are clear areas to focus on this week as they prepare for the Pro14 final against Ulster.

Porter is very familiar with Ulster’s looseheads, having been a team-mate of Jack McGrath’s for several seasons in Leinster and also having played for the Ireland U20s with Eric O’Sullivan.

“They’re definitely two very good looseheads and I’ll have to be on my best game coming up against them,” says Porter.

tadhg-beirne-and-stephen-archer-tackle-andrew-porter Porter carries for Leinster against Munster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The imposing prop will have plenty of encouragement this week, even if fans still aren’t allowed into rugby games, with his family continuing to be hugely supportive of his rugby career.

His sister Leigh is a powerlifter and personal trainer, while his other sister, Erica, plays for Old Alex hockey club and also does tag rugby. His dad, Ernie, played in the centre for Carlow and Old Wesley, so there is plenty of appreciation for what Andrew does.

“It’s great, they’re your number one fans really,” says Porter. “I’m the baby of the family, they’re always looking after me.

“It’s great having that kind of support network at home, they’re so invested in what I’m doing and they’ve been there for me every step of the way.

“It was great over lockdown as well, Leigh is a personal trainer so she was keeping me under a strict routine of diet and exercise over the lockdown period!

“It was great having that and having my dad, who is big into rugby as well, it’s great to have a family that are interested and invested in what I’m doing.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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