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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 18 April, 2019
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More than just 'farm strength': Gopperth always believed Tadhg Furlong was bound for greatness

“He’s more or less booked his place in New Zealand with the Lions this summer.”

Furlong tackles Gopperth when Ireland met the Barbarians in 2015.
Furlong tackles Gopperth when Ireland met the Barbarians in 2015.

FORMER LEINSTER OUT-HALF Jimmy Gopperth has heaped praised on prop Tadhg Furlong as he prepares to guide Wasps in a tough Champions Cup quarter-final in Dublin.

Having only made his first start for Ireland last summer, the tighthead’s rise to the top with consistently excellent form has earned him acclaim far beyond just these shores.

With Leo Cullen perhaps having to field some young, fresher faces for the knockout tie in the Aviva Stadium this Saturday, Gopperth was asked which of the academy crop impressed him most during his time there. He didn’t need a second’s thought to form his answer.

“I always thought Tadhg Furlong would go on to greatness,” said the Kiwi, who departed Leinster shortly before Furlong made an international debut.

He was a young fella coming through the academy, strong as an ox. He’s got that farm strength about him.

“More than that, his attitude and the way he perceives himself. He’s a very humble guy, grounded guy and he’s come on leaps and bounds. He was outstanding in the Six Nations and he’s more or less booked his place in New Zealand with the Lions this summer.

“I’m really happy for Tadhg. He’s a bloody good bloke and it’s just good to see a young guy from the countryside doing really well.”

Gordon D'Arcy supported by Jimmy Gopperth and Tadhg Furlong Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Gopperth has of course been joined in Coventry by a man who rivaled Furlong for the right to be Mike Ross’ heir. Marty Moore will likely be Furlong’s opposite number this Saturday. And the 33-year-old out-half warns that it’s not the same Moore that left Ireland:

“Marty has fitted in really well with us. He had a couple of injuries early, but he shrugged them off and he’s been getting a lot of game time.

“He adds a lot around the field and with his scrummaging and he has really opened up as a person.

“He has really embraced the culture over here and I suppose getting out of his comfort zone has really helped him and I don’t think it will be too long before he is back in a green jersey as well. He is doing an excellent job for us.”

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Sean Farrell

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