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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 16 February, 2019

Once you're on it's like any other game': Moore delighted to get nervy debut under his belt

Martin Moore has gone from AIL to international prop in the space of a year.

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

IT’S BEEN A big week for Martin Moore, the high point of a big season.

The tight-head prop hadn’t even won his first starting berth for Leinster when the season started, but yesterday he came off the bench to win his first international cap in the second half of Ireland’s 28 – 6 win over Scotland.

“It’s great to have it under the belt now and the nerves have subsided,” said the 22-year-old after experiencing the big stage for the first time.

It wasn’t just the game itself, Moore also found himself under scrutiny post match when the drug testers called and ensured he missed out on Joe Schmidt telling the squad that the second half performance was the template for how he wanted Ireland to play.

“It’s as much about the physical preparation as it is about keeping myself mentally in the right frame of mind coming off the bench. I am happy to get the win with the lads and get the first one out of the way.”

He adds: “It doesn’t matter if you have one cap or 100 caps, everyone really knows all they have to focus on. We talk about fitting in, that is the big thing, It doesn’t matter who you are, but that is your first job.”

Fitting into a Joe Schmidt side means working hard on and off the field to make sure each time on the training or competitive field shows some form of improvement. And for a prop on match-day, improvement and gains come by knowing the lie of the land and trends shown by the opposition front row long before packing down for yourself.

“There is a big onus on us as a subs bench; Joe talks about us not being spectators but really looking on so we can improve and show what we can do when we come on. We have the live feed of the game. The lads are going back through replays and looking at the set piece on what is going on when we came in at half-time.”

The big problem for a debutant, though, is that the period they are asked to be concentrating through is exactly when the nerves are jangling the most.

Fortunately for Moore, he got the tap on the shoulder just before the hour mark and his first cap was assured within five minutes.

“It is the waiting more than anything that gets to players. Once you are on, it is any other game more or less. But it is when you are looking around, waiting to come on that things get at you a little bit. The big one is the first contact – you get a bang and you’re in the game.”

It’s one down in what promises to be a big international career.

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Sean Farrell

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