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Moore Determined To ‘Keep Pushing On’

Moore Determined To ‘Keep Pushing On’

A post-match drugs test saw Martin Moore miss Joe Schmidt’s summary in the dressing room afterwards, but the 22-year-old prop had made sure he was noticed during his debut off the bench against Scotland.

Martin Moore enjoyed a 20-minute cameo during the closing stages of Ireland’s 28-6 RBS 6 Nations victory over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

He came on for Mike Ross at tighthead prop and acquitted himself well in the scrum and the loose, carrying close in as Ireland pressed for a late fourth try that never came.

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The rapid development of young Leinster props Moore and Jack McGrath has certainly enhanced Ireland’s front row options this season.

Incredibly, Moore’s senior bow comes just seven days after he made his first appearance for the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds.

The burly front rower, a product of NUIM Barnhall RFC and Castleknock College, was a debutant for the Ireland Under-20s at the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship in Argentina.

In fact, he is the 14th Irish player to have played JWC rugby (since 2008) and gone on to win a Test cap, following in the footsteps of Rhys Ruddock, Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Iain Henderson, Luke Marshall, Stephen Archer, Ian Madigan, Stuart Olding, Dave Kearney and Jack McGrath.

Commenting on his appearance as a 63rd minute replacement against the Scots, Moore said: “It’s great to have it under the belt now and the nerves have subsided. It has been a big week, big build-up.

“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.”

Playing for the Wolfhounds against England Saxons last week softened the step up to Test level for Moore, with Jordi Murphy, Robin Copeland and Isaac Boss also advancing from the ‘A’ squad into the senior set-up.

That stepping stone helped as he got the nod, approaching the hour mark, to get ready for his Six Nations introduction and his first scrum.

“Just before coming onto the pitch, it is the waiting more than anything that gets to players. Once you’re on it’s like 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 are in the game.

“It was good to get that first scrum, get a solid maul and go forward. We seemed to have the ball a lot when I was on which always helps. It’s a good first day to enjoy.”

Moore added: “There’s a big onus on us as a subs bench. Joe (Schmidt) 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 and what is going on when we came in at half-time.”

The rise to Six Nations standard has been swift for the Leinster Academy graduate who admits that it is brilliant to have a coach who rewards performances.

Having played for Ireland in the Under-20 Six Nations in 2011, he states that the great thing about Joe Schmidt is that whether a player has one cap or 100, they are dealt with in a similar way.

“You know if you get some good games under your belt and you perform, you are going to put your hand up for selection and people are going to take notice.

“It really gives players a boost that performances with your province are really going to impact (international selection). It is not just that the team is named, but that it is all on performance which is great for young players coming through.”

The focus now switches to next Saturday’s clash with defending Six Nations champions Wales. Moore would obviously love to play a role in that game.

“If you had asked me six months ago, my debut would have come sooner than I had expected. But at the same time the way things have gone this season I have been ready for (it) now, especially the last few weeks coming from the Heineken Cup, coming into the Saxons (game).

“It was always on the horizon, that possibility (of playing). I’m really looking forward to next Saturday, and hopefully having some involvement.”

It has been an incredible ten months for Ireland’s newest international player, who helped Lansdowne win their first Ulster Bank League title last season. They were crowned champions against Clontarf last March with Moore in the number 3 jersey.

After lining out for Emerging Ireland in last summer’s Tbilisi Cup, he broke into the Leinster team and has made 18 appearances for the province so far this season – including an involvement in all six Heineken Cup pool games.

Reflecting on his journey to a first Ireland cap, he admitted: “It’s a long way from the AIL! At Lansdowne we had quite a team as well last year. We had five in the Heineken Cup on one matchday from our starting 15 with Lansdowne.

“That was all good experience. We learnt how to close games out and it is always nice to win a trophy. I’ll just keep pushing on.”