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Saturday 3 December 2016

Fogarty full of praise for versatile Blues hooker Tracy

James Tracy
James Tracy

It was one of those 'did you see that?' moments which drew gasps from thousands.

The way hooker James Tracy transferred the ball in one smooth, no-look movement to Isa Nacewa confounded Bath's Matt Banahan and captivated an enthralled audience.

Hookers shouldn't be able to do that.

It was a snapshot into a future in which Leinster's front row forwards can make a difference.

The willingness to work is what makes talent count.

The former Newbridge College loose-head has applied a relentless ethic to make the transition from the outside into the middle of the front row.

"We nearly had to kick him out of the gym last week because he threw that many balls at the ring on the gym floor," said scrum coach John Fogarty.

"It was like Tracy go home, please go home."

The limitations Leinster have in the transfer market means they have to be creative with their resources.

It has taken time for Tracy to work out the details of his position.

"He tended to scrummage like a loose-head as a hooker," said Fogarty.

"He would come up and he'd be really eager to have a crack at a tight-head. He'd slide left a little.

"If I'm being honest, in his early days, it was about holding him back.

"Once he gets into the scrum, he is a very competitive kid which you have to be in there. He owns it.

"It's about trying to control him in there."

So much of what the position is about is down to attitude.

"When he was first talked to about (moving to) hooker first, he was really open-minded," stated Fogarty.

"He was in the Academy as a loose-head. You could be very nervous with someone saying to you, 'can you jump over, can you throw a ball.'

"He said: 'Yeah, let's have a go.'"

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