Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Michael Scully

Ireland star Tadhg Furlong says Six Nations opener v Wales still his target after injury absence

Tadhg Furlong says he is still on course to play in Ireland's Six Nations opener in Cardiff in just over a fortnight's time.

Furlong has been dogged with injuries since rolling his ankle prior to the victory over South Africa in November - he still started all three Autumn series wins - but having also had to deal with hamstring and calf injuries in recent weeks.

He suffered the calf problem just as he was about to make his comeback at the start of the month.

READ MORE: Australia's Kurtley Beale suspended from rugby after charge over alleged sexual assault

“It wasn't major or anything like that, just one of those things that can happen," said Ireland's world-class tighthead prop.

“I pulled my hamstring against Ulster, then I got back, and usually they integrate you into units and stuff the week before you go back fully training.

“So, I did all that and then I was fit for the Ospreys week, we were doing a scrum session and it was one of those ones - scrum collapsed, leg got caught weird and ping goes the calf.

“It's unrelated. Sometimes you re-injure something and that's a real pain, but it's just one of those things, it's part of the job.

"If they are related, you're like, 'What's going on? We are missing something here'.

“But when they are unrelated, it's easier because it's just one of those things. The way I was told, it's similar to getting injured poaching a ball. It just happens, nothing you can do about it.

“We put a good big bank of work in coming back from the hamstring, to try and be nice and bulletproof in terms of a lot of that stuff.

“Is it frustrating? Yeah, it is frustrating when it happens, but there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to keep going.”

The upshot is that the 30-year-old hopes to make only his sixth appearance of the season in the Wales game that kicks off the championship as Ireland look to build on last year's Triple Crown success.

“I hope so, that's the plan or back available for selection anyway," Furlong said.

"We have to see how we go. You have to hit certain markers and stuff like that along the way. You can't really push these things too hard, would be my sense on it."

Ireland squad selection yesterday got the juices flowing again with the championship in mind.

"I'm looking forward to watching the Leinster lads (against Racing) obviously but I suppose it's different," said the Just Eat ambassador.

“You can't be too ecstatic in training or talking about it too much because there are a lot of hurt people as well. It's a tricky dynamic, so it kind of goes untold in some ways. Or it does in Leinster, anyway.

“It might be a quiet clap on the back to someone like Ross Byrne who is after getting in, but it's not openly talked about because there are people disappointed.”

From Andy Farrell's point of view, he will be getting a fresh and rested Furlong back into Ireland camp next week.

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong in action against Australia (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

However on the negative side, the front row will not have played since that Ulster game on December 12 ahead of the Welsh Test.

“It's a hard one, I think you have to trust yourself a lot," said Furlong.

"And being experienced, I would have done it coming back in the 2021 Six Nations, when I came off a long lay-off with Covid and that, that was enforced.

“I got back in and you hit your groove pretty quick. A lot of it is just trying to stay engaged in the game and follow the habits because that's moving on quickly the whole time, and you just have to stay with it if you want to feel like you are on top of the ground playing the game, not watching it when you get back.

"The way people are scrummaging, the actual scrum hasn't changed in a good few years, since the rule changes really.

"It's just different variations of what teams do, but it's not a monumental shift I would have said.

“The hardest thing about scrummaging is about finding your feel. It's one thing looking at it, but you have to feel good, like you are in the right slot.

"You're so interdependent and reliant on everyone else in the scrum to make you feel good, or I could be doing something that off-puts a loosehead or a hooker or the second-row behind me.

“It's about getting up to speed quickly, sometimes it is slow. It can take a good few sessions to get into that and everyone is on the same page.”

Furlong added: “The Welsh regions are scrummaging very well, particularly Ospreys.

“You can do it in training. A lot of scrummaging is about trust. You trust a lot of what you have done in training and sticking with it in the game. Training is a big one.

“Even some of the non-live scrummaging, your setup, just sitting down at the computer with the lads, talking it through and feeling it out, just getting on a straight line with it.”

*Pictured are Leinster Rugby Players, Tadhg Furlong, Ciarán Frawley and Jason Jenkins in the Aviva Stadium as Just Eat announce the launch of their sustainable Notpla food packaging at Leinster Rugby fixtures across the remainder of the 2022/23 season. Having launched the seaweed-based Notpla in September, Just Eat has created a €50,000 fund that will subsidise the cost of the environmentally friendly packaging for its Irish restaurant partner network. Find out more information at:


Get the latest sports headlines straight to your inbox by signing up for free email alerts

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.