Mike Ross: Tadhg Furlong has talent to be Ireland’s versatile prop

Switching from tighthead to loosehead like trying to write with your left hand, says Ross

Tighthead Mike Ross (left) believes 22-year-old Tadhg Furlong has the talent to be Ireland’s versatile prop. Photograph: Inpho

Tighthead Mike Ross (left) believes 22-year-old Tadhg Furlong has the talent to be Ireland’s versatile prop. Photograph: Inpho

 

Remember Twickenham on St Patrick’s Day 2012 and Tom Court’s traumatic experience at the hands of Dan Cole?

Same stadium, same English tighthead, Mike Ross was inevitably asked about how Tadhg Furlong will cope at loosehead should he get a second cap off the bench this Saturday.

22-year-old Furlong and Nathan White are understudies to the 35 year old Ross now that Marty Moore has been ruled out, but the Wexford man has also been flagged as Ireland’s versatile prop.

How difficult is it to switch over?

“We have been working with him this week and it is a bit of an adjustment,” Ross explained. “I compare it to trying to write with your left hand. He’s certainly strong enough to do a competent job there.”

However, it’s as much about technique, finesse even, than strength.

“It will take a bit more experience to do a dominant job there. I’d be confident in his ability to do a job there for us.”

Joe Schmidt, undoubtedly on the direction of scrum coach Greg Feek, has mentioned how a younger player like Furlong would be more capable of switching across the frontrow.

Still, there are few greater challenges for a loosehead than scrummaging against Dan Cole in a packed Twickenham.

“It’s definitely a baptism of fire,” said Ross.

Just ask Court.

At least Cian Healy is back on track.

“He’s been scrummaging live since last week. It’s a medics call now when he can take the pitch.”

Schmidt exonerated White of any blame despite two scrum penalties being awarded to Wales last Saturday. However, Ross, sitting in the stand, felt there was a problem. “We helped the Welsh get at us. We didn’t stay square enough for long enough. We are aware of that now.

“It’s something we will try not to repeat.”

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