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'I'm not sure Jack will be trying that again any time soon!'

Tadhg Furlong admits his fellow front rower has received plenty of stick over his botched kick to touch on Friday night.

Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong.
Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

THE FINAL WHISTLE brought relief to plenty of faces at the RDS last Friday night but none more so than that of Leinster loosehead Jack McGrath.

It was a stressful finale at the Dublin 4 venue for Leinster fans, officials and RDS electricians but McGrath’s dodgy kick to touch when time was up could have been a sporting blooper for years to come.

It was a funny old night — Leinster’s nine-match winning run in the Pro12 almost coming to an end despite them dominating the opening 60 minutes of the game.

Glasgow’s star-studded bench wrestled them back ahead in six frantic minutes only for Joey Carbery to restore the home side’s lead with a penalty. The comical power outage simply added to the drama.

When the game finally got going again and time was up, Leinster were ahead 31-30 and just needed to put the ball dead.

McGrath stole the pill on halfway and found himself smack bang in between the two touchlines.

The Leinster and Ireland front rower backed himself to find touch, rather than attempt a long pass back to Carbery, but the end result caused plenty of heart flutters around the ground.

Under pressure, McGrath’s rushed kick came off the outside of his boot and bounced menacingly into his own 22.

And while it bobbled around awkwardly in Leinster territory, fortunately for the Blues, and particularly McGrath, Adam Byrne was there to tidy things up as the Glasgow chasers closed in.

Dressing-room culture being what it is, McGrath won’t be allowed to forget his faux pas any time soon, although kicking practice with Johnny Sexton and Co is an unlikely punishment for the 120kg prop this week.

Recalling the incident, a beaming grin breaks across the face of McGrath’s fellow front rower Tadhg Furlong.

“I’m not sure Jack will be trying that again any time soon,” Furlong quipped at UCD this afternoon.

“He got a good bit of stick after the game.

“It was funny watching on from the stands. Well, relief when it eventually got out through Adam Byrne.

“It probably wouldn’t have happened if we were losing the game. But to win the game you can sort of afford to laugh a little bit about it.”

“He’s got a fair bit of stick off Sexton actually, his kicking wasn’t great,” added scrum coach John Fogarty with a smile.

Mike Ross is substituted Mike Ross leaves the field. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Friday’s match also saw the retiring Mike Ross given a standing ovation in what may have been his final home appearance for the province.

It means the front row fraternity will be missing a key member next season, and Furlong admits it will take some getting used to.

“I definitely will find it different next year,” Furlong adds.

“I’ve only known an environment with Rossy in it. He’ll be dearly missed.

“I’m sure if he wanted to play rugby for another year he’d definitely be capable.

“His body is still fit and healthy and he’s scrummaging as well as ever, believe me. He’s getting around the pitch, he’s mobile.

“His fitness is really good, even looking at his metres in training sessions, he’s right up there.

“It’ll be a weird changing room for the first few months of the year without Rossy there.”

The loss of Ross will leave a considerable gap in the Leinster set-up, although Furlong isn’t particularly comfortable with the thought of taking on the 37-year-old’s leadership role.

“Jesus, it’s kind of scary to think that. I’m 24 years of age. Michael Bent has been around a long time, he’s played a lot of professional rugby games. He talks really well in the group, he’s a leader himself.

“There are some young tightheads coming through too. Andrew Porter is going to have a big future in the game.

“Just seeing him week-in, week-out, he’s after adapting to tighthead extremely quickly, a lot more quickly than John Fogarty would have imagined I think.

“Even other tightheads looking at him, he’s probably after adapting a bit too quickly!

“He’s a bit of a physical specimen, a bit of a freak around the place. There’s going to be great competition there next year.”

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Alan Waldron

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