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'A lot changes in a couple of years': Marty Moore eager to impress in Ulster and get back in Ireland pecking order

Ulster’s new signing will enjoy a sooner-than-expected reunion with his old club Wasps this evening.

WHEN MARTY MOORE decided to leave these shores in 2016 for a stint with Wasps, he knew he was putting his international ambitions on hold.

Back in Ulster this season, after a two-year spell which coincided with Tadhg Furlong changing how tightheads are viewed, the Dubliner knows there is work to be done to get back up the pecking order.

Or into it.

Marty Moore and Tadhg Furlong arrive for training Moore and Furlong walk to training in 2015. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I suppose I’m not in the pecking order,” he says matter-of-factly. He is looking forward to presenting his case to Joe Schmidt with efforts on the field.

“All my focus is just on trying to play for Ulster. There’s no point trying to think where I am in the standings because I don’t think I’m in the ranks. So it’s get a white shirt on me and see what I can do. ”

Moore’s time on Test duty has been a successful one. Before Furlong’s emergence ahead of the 2015 World Cup, the Castleknock man headed the line of succession behind Mike Ross and his 10 international caps have come in Six Nations title-winning campaigns in 2014 and 2015.

Marty Moore celebrates with Rory Best after his side won a penalry Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Injury kept him out of the 2016 Championship and he was replaced by Finlay Bealham. Lately, the Connacht man has also slipped down the order of merit in Schmidt’s eyes with John Ryan and Andrew Porter – who was encouraged to switch from loosehead to tighthead due to Moore’s departure – now acting as sizable roadblocks to his path back to Carton House.

Of course, so much more than just the rugby landscape that has changed in Moore’s time in the Premiership. He returns not only two years older, but as a father.

“We’ve started a family. We’ve a little one now who was born over there in January so I suppose a lot changes in a couple of years.

The last time I was playing in Ireland, Aaron (Dundon, Ulster scrum coach) was playing with me in Leinster, Jared Payne was playing with Ulster. I came back and they’re both coaches with kids and I’ve got a child myself so a lot can happen in two years.

“I got to experience a different league, different coaching systems. There’s a very different way of doing things over there from the coaching to the playing.

“It was really good and really formative for me as a rugby player and more so as a person even. Just a bit of growth and get out of my comfort zone and try something new and I  wouldn’t change it for the world. I did enjoy it, but then obviously when the opportunity did arise to come back it just was a good fit.”

“I had another year to go at Wasps and then I got a call last summer to say that there was interest here if I wanted to move back. It was good timing, I was kind of feeling a bit like I wanted to be back in the Irish system and make a go of it and, possibly, internationally again.

“We were also expecting our first child, so family-wise it kind of made sense as well. We went from staying in England for the foreseeable future to planning our trip back to the ‘mainland’ within a few weeks.

“To be over here is great and (we’ve) settled in. I suppose I know a lot of the guys as it is so that’s made things a lot easier. The transition hasn’t been a wholly new adventure.”

Marty Moore arrives Source: James Crombie/INPHO

There’s more than a touch of familiarity about Moore’s next opposition too. Just as Wasps were the last team he faced as a Leinster player, Coventry will be the scene of his first Ulster start this evening.

“I just laughed (when he seen the pre-season fixture list) because my family had been over at most home games my grandparents were over and always stayed in the hotel on site there at the Ricoh Arena. They were kind of saying in April or May: ‘this is the last trip…’

“They knew all the staff by first name, so they were saying their goodbyes and everything. Two weeks later I rang them up and said: ‘you know we have a game there in August, so you’ll be back over!

“Should be an interesting game.”

Ulster:

15. Will Addison
14. Craig Gilroy
13. Stewart Moore
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Angus Kernohan
10. Johnny McPhillips
9. Jonny Stewart

1. Eric O’Sullivan
2. John Andrew
3. Marty Moore
4. Alan O’Connor (captain)
5. Kieran Treadwell
6. Marcell Coetzee
7. Sean Reidy
8. Nick Timoney

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alex Thompson, Caleb Montgomery, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Darren Cave, Greg Jones, Chris Henry, Jack Owens.

Wasps:

15. Rob Miller
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Juan De Jongh
11. Josh Bassett
10. Billy Searle
9. Dan Robson

1. Ben Harris
2. Tom Cruse
3. Kieran Brookes
4. Joe Launchbury (captain)
5. Will Rowlands
6. Nizaam Carr
7. Joe Atkinson
8. Nathan Hughes

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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