Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Moore rejected Ireland career

Devin Toner can help disrupt Australia's line-out on Saturday, tips Ireland's forwards coach John Plumtree.

Australia hooker Stephen Moore admits he rejected the opportunity to explore an international career with Ireland.

The 86-cap front-rower revealed Ireland enquired about his services when he was 19.

Born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents, Moore and family moved to Galway before settling in Australia.

The 30-year-old admitted interest from Ireland swayed his teenage mind for a second - until he thought more seriously about the prospect.

Australia's most-capped hooker explained: "That was a long time ago, very early on in my career, only 19 or 20, so I wasn't really thinking about playing internationally at that stage, I was only playing Under-19s rugby in Brisbane.

"But yeah there was a bit of interest there, obviously with my background, but I think at the time my head was spinning about everything.

"But I've been in Australia since I was five years old, I've grown up in Australia and I consider myself a proud Australian.

"So I'm very glad I've had the opportunity to play for Australia so many times, it's very special to me.

"But in saying that I'm very proud of my heritage over here too.

"We've got plenty of guys like that in the team though, guys who have backgrounds in other countries around the world.

"And I guess that's one of the unique things about Australia.

"When it came down to it, it wasn't a difficult decision.

"I had always grown up following Australia and wanting to play for the Wallabies."

Moore is relishing Australia's autumn international clash with Ireland at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Saturday - even though half his family will be baying for Wallaby blood.

Gaelic football goalkeeper Patrick O'Rourke featured in the recent International Rules series against Australia. And Moore is happy to keep the international inter-hemisphere family battle going.

He continued: "It's always a special week, very much so, particularly over here.

"There's always lots of people to catch up with and find tickets for. I've also got my mother, sister, wife and son over here too, so there's a chance to visit family which is a great chance you don't get too often.

"My cousin was the goalkeeper for the Irish team against the Australian team, so I follow him pretty closely.

"My dad's from Galway and my mum from Mayo, so there's always a lot of talk about their football team too.

"All my cousins over here still support Ireland, so I have to understand that!

"Most of my mum's family live within an hour of Dublin, so it will be pretty busy at the weekend."

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