Marty Moore pushing forward with Ulster

Ulster have played 21 games this season and will play a minimum of four more - three regular season league games in the United Rugby Championship and a quarter-final.

By Ciaran Donaghy
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 7:00 am

Prop Marty Moore has featured in 15 of the games, starting in 12 including donning the No3 shirt for the last six matches.

Despite the heavy workload, the 31-year-old is feeling fit and refreshed and looking forward to getting stuck in to the rest of the season.

“It is surprisingly good considering how physical the last couple of weeks,” he said. “Tuesday was a good day on the field trying to get back into the swing of it and there wasn’t too much physical demand.

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Ulster’s Marty Moore (left). Pic by PA

“I’m feeling pretty good and match-hardened at this stage of the season, I’ve had my first real run over the last seven or eight weeks and I am happy with where I am at the moment.

“There is a lot of off-field work with different opposition, coming out of the back-to-back games we have had a look at the Munster stuff and got through that in the early part of the week.

“The on-field demands on a Monday and Tuesday aren’t as big for a game like this because it has come around so quick.

“From the weekend it is not like we need to get a huge amount through the legs or do a crazy amount of contact work.

“It is about getting the mental side of things right and making sure we are fresh and ready to go.”

Ulster have lost three of their last four games but, despite the results, Moore is upbeat about the performances.

“The Stormers game and the Toulouse game at the weekend...as devasting as it is in the moment for what the loss means, when we look at the performances in those games it is not disheartening,” he said. “And it doesn’t weigh on the squad in that regard.

“We feel that we are performing well enough to beat big sides and do well and crack on but we just haven’t got the results.

“It is not like we have been beaten off the field or under-performed hugely, there are some very promising things there.

“It is frustrating but I wouldn’t say it is disheartening...it is almost the opposite effect - it kind of lights a fire under you a little bit.

“We are very close to what we want to do and are playing some great rugby....that is probably my take on it.”

Moore is looking forward to the physical battle against the Munster pack tomorrow night.

“It’s always the way with any inter-pro, it is always a hugely physical game and the other side of it as well, maybe not the last couple of weeks with big packs like Toulouse, the game played at pace for a longer period of time generally when we play these inter-pro games.

“It is a bit of a double-sided thing where you have the competitiveness up front in scrum and maul but you have also got the long passages of play that, hopefully, we can put together and, hopefully, they can do the same.

“It will probably be more physically-demanding this weekend than it has been the last few weeks.”

q The 2023 Guinness Six Nations fixtures are as follows (kick-offs GMT): February 4 – Wales v Ireland (1415), England v Scotland (1645); February 5 – Italy v France (1500); February 11 – Ireland v France (1415), Scotland v Wales (1645); February 12 – England v Italy (1500); February 25 – Italy v Ireland (1415), Wales v England (1645); February 26 – France v Scotland (1500); March 11 – Italy v Wales (1415), England v France (1645); March 12 – Scotland v Ireland (1500); March 18 – Scotland v Italy (1230), France v Wales (1445), Ireland v England (1700).

There are no Friday night fixtures on next year’s schedule, which is the final Six Nations tournament before the 2023 World Cup in France.

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said: “The 2022 championship ended in one of the most exciting ‘Super Saturdays’ in history with an incredible performance by Italy, a Triple Crown win for Ireland and a long-awaited Grand Slam for France.

“Once again, fans had to wait until the final game was played to know who this year’s champions would be, and the rugby action did not disappoint.

“As we look ahead to the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, there are so many storylines that will play out across the five rounds of fixtures.

“This is a huge part of what makes the championship so unique, and what continues to captivate the imagination of audiences and fans around the world.”