Props are a special breed. Traditionally, they were on the pitch to do one important job – lock out a scrum. However, now the game has evolved to such an extent that such a sole responsibility is unlikely to cut it anymore at the highest level of the game.
Now we see more dynamic and skilled props – think of the likes of Mako Vunipola, Owen Franks, Sekope Kepu and of course, Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong.
The modern game now relies on all of your players having a particular skill level, the ability to pass accurately from both sides, good footwork, acceleration and perhaps even some offloading ability, too.
Furlong, has shown for Ireland and Leinster, that he has all of these attributes and this is the reason why many believe he is nailed on for a Test start against the All Blacks next month. A prop needs his the help of his teammates too, however. Relationships with your hooker and your locks are incredibly important but as you might expect, the chain of command goes in a props favour.
Furlong was speaking to the media at Carton House today where he revealed how he was learning a lot from being under the tutelage of new coaches like Graham Rowntree, who he would not have worked with before.
“I’m working through Graham Rowntree, a small bit…so to get an outside influence I wouldn’t have had before, a new set of eyes, has been good for me, he probably has picked up a few little things, and given me some training tips I wouldn’t have heard before, something about my bind, my head position on bind, little nuggets like that.”
Of course, relationships need to be developed with your tight five colleagues and Furlong told the assembled media that he’s the boss when it comes to dictating who wins out when it comes their preferences being adopted.
“Yeah, I am the prop and he’s my lock [Kruis] – not the other way around!
“There are different little things that props like the feel of.”
Earlier in the day, George Kruis revealed how much he was looking forward to working with Furlong and how they will need to adapt to one another to form a successful partnership.
Kruis and Furlong are in fact rooming with each other at Carton House so there will definitely be time off the training pitch to get an understanding of one another.
“He’s [Kruis] a really good fella. There’s plenty of pillow talk! It’s been good.”