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Porter eager to seize his chance to impress and help Leinster seal more glory

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Andrew Porter is on a mission

Andrew Porter is on a mission

�INPHO/Billy Stickland

Andrew Porter is on a mission

There weren't many moments of open dissent in the time of Joe Schmidt, so those that occurred linger in the memory.

Andrew Porter was one of the few Ireland players who enjoyed a good World Cup and, when he was brought on early in the second half against a dominant Japan side, he had an impact and began to turn the physical tide.

The problem was, Porter was only a temporary sub and when Tadhg Furlong returned to the sideline he was hauled ashore.

The 24-year-old Leinster tighthead was visibly disgusted with the decision, giving a 'Who, me?' look and shaking his head as he was withdrawn. By the time he returned, Kenki Fukuoka had scored his try and the team were playing catch-up.

Up until this point in his career, Porter's role has been as Furlong's back-up.

Long-term, they may be team-mates if the St Andrew's graduate ever switches back to the loosehead position when Cian Healy retires.

For now, he is up against a three-Test Lions star and centrally-contracted Ireland international for the No.3 jersey. The problem for Porter has been that at times in the last 18 months he has looked in better form than his illustrious rival.

This window has provided an opportunity for him to show his wares and he is thriving with the responsibility afforded to him by Furlong's back injury.

"It's obviously a big opportunity for myself and I'm just trying to really nail my basics, trying to do my job and getting into my flow again. After such a long time, I almost forgot to scrum having not been able to do it," he said.

"It's about trying to take my opportunity and nail my basics. It's definitely different in terms of being able to showcase my own abilities. It's also about building those game minutes and getting that fitness back again. That will really stand to me, hopefully, during the course of the season now."

And he's happy enough with the results since he came back.

"It's going alright, I'm just trying to do my job," he said. "As a tighthead, you're expected to scrum first and then let everything else fall into place.

"I'm feeling good around the park, getting those minutes."

Strangely, given the post-pandemic season, his third game is a final and he is urging his colleagues to finish the job of a historic season and rack up more silverware.

"The whole season will mean nothing if we don't turn up," Porter added of Leinster's Aviva clash with Ulster. "It doesn't matter if you're unbeaten, now is the only time it counts."

Belfast Telegraph