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Thursday 5 December 2019

Tadhg off to flying start

Super try crowns fine all-round show by Campile star

Wexford powerhouse Tadhg Furlong crossing the Scotland line for his team’s third try on Sunday (22nd)
Wexford powerhouse Tadhg Furlong crossing the Scotland line for his team’s third try on Sunday (22nd)

Brendan Furlong

Ireland enjoyed a memorable opening to their Rugby World Cup with an astonishing 27-3 victory over Scotland on Sunday morning (22nd).

The success was achieved with an immense contribution from Campile native Tadhg Furlong who showed a return to the type of form exhibited on the Lions tour, after which he was acclaimed as the top tighthead prop in world rugby.

The former New Ross player contributed in rich measure to the showing of the Irish pack during his 49 minutes on the pitch as they demolished the Scotland pack both in the scrum and loose.

They dominated through the 80 minutes, being first to the breakdown and setting up quality ball for the back line, helping them run in four tries to gain a vital bonus point in the process.

Furlong showed little respect for the reputation of the rival front row. Along with captain Rory Best and Cian Healy, they dominated their opposite numbers in the tight, while they were also immense in the loose, with some huge carries, tackles and an admirable workrate at the breakdown.

It did not surprise anyone that, given his recent return to form, Furlong continued his try-scoring run.

Having scored in their final friendly game against Wales in the Aviva, Furlong played a crucial role in the build-up and execution of the side's third try.

Having had some huge drives for the Scots line held up just short, Furlong got himself into the perfect line to take Conor Murray's ball from a ruck on the line to drive his way over.

One could see how much it meant to him given his smile and fist pump on hitting the ground.

The blueprint for this handsome victory was laid during the opening exchanges when Ireland brought a real tempo to their game.

They refused to allow Scotland settle, and along with their kicking and passing game working to perfection, they soon had their opponents under the type of pressure that ultimately resulted in unforced errors.

As a result of this victory, Ireland have set the tone in Pool A, with the winners now likely to face South Africa in the quarter-finals.

However, right now they will be looking ahead to their second pool game on Saturday morning against the host nation, Japan, who defeated Russia in their opening game.

Furlong also had some home support in the crowd, as on scoring his try a banner unfolded high in the stand - 'New Ross RFC U-12 supports Tadhg'.

This must have brought an even greater smile to the face of the World's number one tighthead prop.

When the U.S.A. open their World Cup against England on Thursday, there will also be a special Wexford interest, as included in their squad is Dylan Fawsitt.

Fawsitt has become a regular in the U.S.A. set-up, having qualified under the residency rules. He grew up in Greystones, his father's neck of the woods, until a move to Piercestown in his mother's home county, at the age of ten.

He played his club rugby with Greystones, however, and after doing first year at Wexford C.B.S. he moved up to Blackrock College as a boarder.

Having helped the school to a Junior Cup, Fawsitt was in the back row of the Blackrock team which won the 2009 Leinster Schools Senior Cup, playing alongside Jordi Murphy and Andrew Conway.

Another County Wexford connection with the U.S.A. squad is provided by former Enniscorthy player Ross Deacon.

Deacon is number eight on the U.S.A. team, adding to his growing reputation by inclusion in the World Cup set-up. He was recently honoured on the U.S.A. team of the year which was picked from performances all year.

Wexford is also represented on the Eir Sport analysis, with former international Gordon D'Arcy giving an intelligent insight into the happenings in each game.

On the homefront, former Wexford Wanderers player, Brian Deeny, continued his progress when playing in the back row for Leinster A who continued their unbeaten run in the Celtic Cup with a 54-24 victory over Ospreys Development.

Meanwhile, Enniscorthy's Jeamie Deacon was in the back row for Leinster ladies as they completed a perfect inter-provincial campaign with a 25-12 victory over Connacht, lifting the title with a one hundred per cent record.

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