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'The pictures show another side to us – we’re more than just players'

Ireland prop Andrew Porter says ‘not a day goes by’ when he doesn’t think of his mother, Wendy.

IRISH RUGBY SUPPORTERS had the chance to see a whole new side of their favourite players over the weekend as the superb images captured by Inpho Photography were unveiled.

These are personal, unique photographs of Ireland’s players and staff, as well as a strong reminder that they are human beings.

The success of Inpho’s series of images has been clear in recent days, with a glowing reaction at home in Ireland and further afield. Every fan will have their own favourite, but the image of Andrew Porter holding a photograph of his mother, Wendy, was particularly touching.

AI8I1793 Andrew Porter with a photograph of his mother, Wendy. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Porter was just 12 when he lost his mother to cancer and Dan Sheridan’s work captures his ongoing love for her in a beautiful manner, also showcasing the ‘Wendy’ tattoo on his arm.

“The picture wasn’t my idea,” explained Porter in Japan today as Ireland’s World Cup preparations continued.  “Dan Sheridan brought it up – he’d be a good friend of mine now and it’s something I’d be able to talk to him openly about.

“He has that connection with a lot of the players. He brought the idea forward and I was more than happy to go ahead with it.”

Porter received several messages from people at home saying how much they had liked his image and all the others in Inpho’s collection. 

The 23-year-old prop was happy to be involved, particularly as the photos underlined that there is more to this Ireland squad than just being rugby players.

“They were lovely pictures. They show another side to us – we’re more than just players. We’re brothers, sons, boyfriends, husbands, whatever.

“So it’s nice to be able to see that other side of people – it’s nice for us to be able to show people that. At the end of the day, we’re all human.”

Porter is a big family man, very close to his two sisters, Erica and Leigh, and his father, Ernie.

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His support for the Irish Cancer Society is one example of just how much his mother means to him.

“There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. It’s always been close to my heart and it’s on my sleeve there,” said Porter, pointing to his left forearm.

andrew-porter Porter pictured in Japan today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Porter takes pride in having his mother’s name in clear view, although he has had to cover it and his other body art in certain settings in Japan, where tattoos are considered a taboo.

“In the swimming pool, I’ve had to wear one of those long thermal vests and a sock over my calf,” explained Porter. “But walking around town it’s been fine, swimming is the only problem.”

The Leinster man is enjoying getting to know Japan a little more, having also been here on Ireland’s 2017 tour, and describes himself as “a big sushi man,” meaning the local restaurants have been well visited.

Porter is covering both prop positions for Ireland at this World Cup. He moved to tighthead from loosehead as recently as 2017, meaning the switch back over hasn’t been too taxing.

Indeed, his performance off the bench against Wales in Cardiff during the World Cup warm-up games was very impressive.

“It was a bit challenging at the beginning but I got my reps in training and I got a decent few minutes against Wales at loosehead,” said Porter.

“It’s liking riding a bike – you don’t really forget it. It’s where I started off, so I’m really excited. If I have to cover both roles, I’m versatile.”

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Murray Kinsella

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