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Mike Ross on Connacht link: 'I'd never rule it out'

The veteran tighthead is confident that he has another season at the highest level in him.
Dec 8th 2015, 4:25 PM 8,780 28

LEINSTER TIGHTHEAD PROP Mike Ross ‘wouldn’t rule out’ a switch to a new province after his current contract expires in the summer and is determined to extend his career at least until 2017.

The Corkman will be 36 by Christmas but remains a cornerstone for both club and country. However, with Marty Moore and Tadhg Furlong snapping at his heels, Ross was touted as a likely candidate to be farmed out to Connacht by a report in this morning’s Irish Times.

“First I’ve heard of it,” is a stock response from professionals when asked about transfers, but Ross’ response to The42 has a sincerity to it.

“I’d never rule it out. It’d be myself and Whitey down there wouldn’t it?

“Honestly, it’s the first I’ve heard of it, but Connacht are certainly playing well this year and they were top of the league.”

Ross doesn’t take long to put the jigsaw together in his head. When he arrived back on Irish shores from Harlequins, tighthead props were in alarmingly short supply. These days, it’s slightly better and Ross lists off his peers like a man who sees sense in spreading the wealth across four provinces.

We do have three international tightheads here, it’s natural that every time a contract comes up I’ll be linked with another province.”

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He adds: “At the moment Stephen Archer’s injured in Munster, Rodney (Ah You) and (Nathan) Whitey in Connacht, Wiehahn Herbst (project player) and Ricky Lutton in Ulster – there’s not a huge amount of us around, but there’s a few.”

Whether or not Leinster or the IRFU decide to keep the most decorated of the rare breed inside their jurisdiction, Ross holds himself like a man who knows his particular set of talents won’t go unused, even if he has to follow the lead of Donncha O’Callaghan and cross the channel to round off his career on the field.

“I think I’ve got another season left in me. I’m still enjoying it and the body’s holding up – touch wood.”

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