Tadhg Furlong has thanked Mike Ross for helping develop the next generation of Irish props.
The 23-year-old Leinster tighthead has won eight Ireland caps and is ecoming one of Leo Cullen’s most trusted players, but he says he has much to thank the 36-year-old for.
There may be 13 years between the pair, but Furlong insists there’s no gap when it comes to sharing wisdom.
“I keep slagging him, like, ‘Rossy, you’re born in the Seventies...I’m ‘92 and you’re two generations older!’
“Mike and I are good friends. He threw me under his wing there when I came into the Academy five or six years ago.
“The way he brings you lads through is really good for the front row unit because at the end of the day we do a lot of work together.
“It’s the dark arts and I suppose no-one really gets what we do, other than each other, and we have a huge amount of respect for each other, tight-head, loose-head, hooker - so he’s really good for bringing that group together.”
Furlong made his first start for Ireland in June, in the second Test against South Africa, and admits it has him desperate for more big time action.
“I was happy enough with the way it went in the second Test, although there’s always stuff you can sort of improve on, it definitely wasn’t perfect by any means, but to go up against someone like Tendai Mtawarira, the Beast, and hold your own in a way, it gives you huge confidence,” he said.
“Ultimately I was very disappointed with the way that game finished and in the bigger picture you can stew on that one to some extent, but given the position we were in, to let that go it wouldn’t sit well with us. I know we had a first ever win on South African soil but we could have been saying we had won a Test series over there.”
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