Moriarty Charting Collision Course for Lions; Rugby Union INTERVIEW

Daily Mail (London), April 29, 2017 | Go to article overview

Moriarty Charting Collision Course for Lions; Rugby Union INTERVIEW


Byline: Will Kelleher

EYES closed, trying to ignore the knot in his stomach, straining to hear every word on his mobile phone from British & Irish Lions tour manager John Spencer last Wednesday, he sat in a restaurant with his girlfriend brunch on hold.

'Joe Marler, Harlequins and England,' Spencer announced, pausing for dramatic effect between each Lion selected to tour New Zealand.

'Jack McGrath, Leinster and Ireland.' 31 named now, how many more? And then: 'Ross Moriarty, Gloucester and Wales.' '"Ross" came out and when he started saying my second name, obviously it was happy days!' says Moriarty of the moment his dream became reality.

'I was over the moon there are so many quality players who have been on Lions tours before, so to be named with those is huge.' Probably the most surprising Lions selection made by Warren Gatland, the Gloucester flanker with the famous surname had now achieved something neither his father Paul nor uncle Richard managed.

When viewed rationally, it was not so much of a shock. A missile in defence, aggressive in the carry and technically excellent at the breakdown, Moriarty fits the Gatland mould.

He may be softly spoken off the pitch, but when the whistle blows he is transformed. Gatland has hired his hitman.

'As soon as I cross the line, that is when I am no longer your friend,' Moriarty explains.

'Before the game I will speak to you and have plenty of respect, but it is different when you cross the line.

'I definitely express myself in a physical way. That is what I have always enjoyed doing. I am not an aggressive person off the pitch.

'Coming out on top of anyone is a good feeling. It is definitely a big knock to me if I am not winning collisions. That's what I do, I have to win collisions as a back-rower. It is a big part of my game.' So is it a case of becoming another character? 'Kind of,' says Moriarty. 'I am not trying to be someone I am not. My father played rugby league which was a tough sport back in the day.

'He talks about the respect off the pitch and then when you get on the pitch you beat the c**p out of each other.' Ross's father Paul was an international with Wales in both codes 21 union caps, 13 in league and two for Great Britain. Uncle Richard had 22 union caps including eight as captain. The burden of his surname took a while to lift. 'From a young age, fathers knew the family name and it was "if you can get one up on himblah blah". It was pretty pathetic but that is the way some people are,' adds the 23-year-old, who admits moving from Wales at 16 may have been the best decision he made. …

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