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Saturday 3 December 2016

Tadhg fights for that feeling to earn every inch

Tadhg Furlong has come a long way from Campile to Chicago and back to Dublin again
Tadhg Furlong has come a long way from Campile to Chicago and back to Dublin again

Tadhg Furlong comes from good stock.

The 23-year-old grew up on the family farm in the townsland of Ballyvelig, a three-minute walk from the village of Campile, close to New Ross.

It's hardy country, the kind of place where props might grow on trees.

Furlong's father James makes no apologies for his love of the simple life.

In some ways, he is disconnected from the modern world.

"He doesn't have a mobile phone. He actually doesn't. The landline. You have to ring the landline," said Ireland's tight-head.

When taking in the aftermath of the chaos of Chicago, Furlong had to go through his mother Margaret to let his family know how it all went.

"The mother was on. She gave me a WhatsApp, just congratulations and hope the body's well and was everything okay because I came off early."

It can't have escaped Furlong, how far he has come from Campile to Chicago to make history happen.

"The expectations are probably the standard that you want to keep at.

"If you're realistic you know every game you go out, you mightn't meet that standard.

"But, if you can get the majority of them to meet it and learn from your mistakes, you know you will be in a good place going forward."

Furlong has been able to lean into Mike Ross as a source of knowledge.

"If you look back over the year to where I was, I've grown well in the scrum.

"But, there is still a hell of a lot to go to become as consistent as Rossy was for years."

He will get to relive Chicago all over again when locking down against Joe Moody, Dane Coles and Owen Franks for the second time.

The clearly intelligent anchor man is more than just meat for a scrum.

The skulduggery of yesteryear has given way to a more thoughtful approach.

"I suppose you come to your scrum and you have your cues to get yourself ready, your reminders. It's not baying for blood. It's very calculated. It's very technical.

"You're thinking your process through your head, your set-up. It has to be consistent the whole time."

Then, there came an insight into what it will be like to be locked into battle with Moody and Cole.

"When you're in there, you're fighting by feel a lot of the time because, obviously, you can't see what's happening.

"You can't see what it's like from the camera. You're in there. You're fighting, trying to get that feeling like you use to.

"You know the feeling when you're in a good shape, when the loose-head's not going to rock you and when you can pin down the hooker coming across at you.

"It's always just fighting for that feeling."

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