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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Tadhg and his club are big in Japan

Tadhg Furlong in action against Willem Nel of Scotland during Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool A match in Yokohama, Japan
Tadhg Furlong in action against Willem Nel of Scotland during Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool A match in Yokohama, Japan
Padraig Bailey and a friend at the International Stadium with the U12s New Ross RFC banner

David Looby

While the pride of New Ross, Tadhg Furlong was doing his stuff on the field against Scotland, his old club was front and centre on TV screens around the world, as a banner showing the U12s team's support for the Campile man was captured during the match.

Furlong drove across the line in the 25th minute of the match, captain Rory Best helping him over the line.

Clearly elated with the try, he didn't hold back in his celebrations immediately after touching the ball down.

The tight-head prop retired from the action at the International Stadium, Yokohama after 50 minutes, no doubt being rested for the next match against tournament hosts Japan on Saturday.

Speaking to RTÉ afterwards, Furlong playfully poked fun at Best, saying: 'It's good to have that competition there and Old Man Best playing 80 minutes which is a testament to him at 55-years-of-age' - with a grin which suggested his words had been part of a bet.

He said: 'I was only out there for ten minutes in the second half. Conor Murray was putting the ball on a sixpence and lads were getting up after it in the air - we were winning those 50/50s. Sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don't and tonight they did. We were walking out in the tunnel at the start of the second half and you see all the rain coming down. It became a bit of a dogfight them but lads stuck at it.'

Excitement has been at fever pitch, not only in New Ross and Campile, but across the county and country as the world's number one ranked team aim to create history by winning the World Cup.

The team's bonus point 27-3 victory over Scotland has put them in good stead to face South Africa in the quarter-finals, and not New Zealand, a prospect club president David 'Stoney' Burke wasn't relishing.

David said: 'It couldn't have started better. Excitement is at fever pitch now. You are looking at a guy in Tadhg who is so humble. He was in with our club sponsors, FBD the Tuesday morning before he left for Japan. He spent an hour meeting everyone and they got great coverage out of it. You have to pinch yourself then when you are looking at the guy playing on TV, being watched by millions. We don't appreciate him enough, even though many people do a lot.'

He said there is a good crowd from New Ross RFC already in Japan for the World Cup, with many more set to travel for the quarter finals, semi finals and final, including Furlong's parents Margaret and James.

'Their optimism might have paid off and I don't think they are going to fear South Africa. People say we have New Zealand's number but a test match is different to a World Cup match and their current coach coached Munster so he knows the inside track on Irish rugby.'

David said the flag was a genius idea.

'I nearly died when the flag came up. We got calls from clubs all over Ireland after the match about it. That image went around the world. The guy involved, Padraig Bailey coaches the U12s. He is a life member of New Ross RFC.'

The flag states: 'New Ross RFC U12s supporting Tadhg Furlong, Rugby World Cup 2019'.

New Ross RFC members were away in Co Meath playing their first league game on Sunday but plan to be out in force for the Samoa match on Saturday, October 12.

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