Leinster’s Marty Moore needs to prove fitness for Ulster game

Tighthead has to have game time if he is to make Ireland’s World Cup squad

Leinster tighthead prop Marty Moore had shoulder surgery twice in seven months. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Leinster tighthead prop Marty Moore had shoulder surgery twice in seven months. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

 

Marty Moore needs to come through Friday’s Leinster versus Ulster match in Belfast to make Joe Schmidt’s 31-man World Cup squad.

The 24-year-old tighthead has been given as much time as possible to recover from last May’s second shoulder surgery in seven months.

He would then be expected to start, or at least feature off the bench, against Wales in Dublin on August 29th. That would signal bad news for the newly capped Nathan White, released to play for Connacht against Munster at Thomond Park tomorrow, as Moore seems primed to be retained as Mike Ross’s understudy.

Schmidt will include 17 forwards, and probably five props, when submitting a final squad on August 31st.

Tournament rules state a player can only be included in a match-day 23 if he has been added to the squad 48 hours before kick-off. So, in the event of injury two days before a game, the coach can only select from the remaining 30-man panel.

That makes it essential to carry a prop who can cover both sides of the scrum. Michael Bent is the only member of Ireland’s training group to boast such credentials.

Both Kiwi props in camp, Bent and White, hail from the North Island town of Hawera in the Taranaki region.

‘One-stop shop’

Leinster signed Bent as tighthead cover in 2012 but he switched to loosehead when Cian Healy was injured last season.

If Healy recovers from complications arising out of last May’s neck surgery to repair a prolapsed disc then Dave Kilcoyne, like White except he’s a specialist loosehead, would miss out. Or Kilcoyne goes and Schmidt sacrifices Donnacha Ryan or even Chris Henry.

Connacht’s Kieran Marmion might still make the World Cup squad, as the third-choice scrumhalf ahead of Isaac Boss, but apparently the Ireland coaches are contemplating bringing just two established number nines in order to make room for a specialist inside centre as cover for Robbie Henshaw. That would mean a lifeline for Darren Cave or Gordon D’Arcy.

In the event of an 11th hour injury to Eoin Reddan or Conor Murray, Ian Madigan could conceivably provide cover at scrumhalf. That would mean no place at all for Boss or Marmion.

Meanwhile, Connacht must plan without new signing Api Pewhaurangi and winger Niyi Adeolokun for the opening weeks, potentially months, of the upcoming season after both players sustained serious knee injuries.

‘Major blow’

Pewhaurangi, a 23-year-old outhalf and centre from Palmerstown North has been capped for Ireland in Rugby League.

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