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Friday 17 August 2018

Moore the man for derby test

Prop in line to make his seasonal bow on Friday

Ireland tight-head prop Marty Moore could make his first appearance of the season in a white-hot interprovincial derby against Connacht at the Sportsground on Friday night.

The news is not so positive about minor injuries to Sean O'Brien (ankle), Zane Kirchner (hamstring) and Shane Jennings (shoulder), all three listed as nothing stronger than 'maybes'.

The possible introduction of Moore far outweighs matters elsewhere for Leinster's scrum coach Marco Caputo, the 23 year-old seen in some quarters as Ireland's likely first choice by the time the World Cup swings around next Autumn.

"I knew coming into the environment, seeing names down on a sheet of paper, Ireland internationals, it is really exciting to be able to work with the Cian Healys and the Mike Ross's," he said.

While Moore is working towards displacing Ross, Jack McGrath is doing likewise on the other side of the scrum where Cian Healy stands in his way.

Caputo likes what he sees in McGrath: "The thing that comes through for me is just how competitive he is. One thing I know about Jack McGrath is when you're in a scrap, he won't come second".

In the shorter-term, Caputo will have to prepare to meet the motivated and unbeaten Western tribe after they have done home and away jobs on the Dragons and Edinburgh.

"We know there will be a short turnaround time going to Connacht this week and it will be another step up, them coming off a two from two scenario," said Caputo.

"We know that it's a fixture that they look forward to every year. We've just got to make sure that we recover well and prepare so that we're not walking into an ambush".

The Australian scrum guru is a product of the ACT Brumbies rugby think-tank. He likes what he sees from Pat Lam's men.

"There's a real Kiwi influence that I can see coming through their game. They do want to move the ball to the edge but they're not afraid to play that confrontational game as well.

"We know they're a better team when they're playing at home in front of their supporters as well."

Connacht do bring their own special brand of belligerence to the table, especially, it seems, when Leinster are seated right there with them, taking down their vaunted guests on three of their last six visits.

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