Sean McMahon reporting from Japan.
In the build-up to this year’s World Cup, one of the many selection talking points surrounded who will be the designated prop that will cover both sides of the scrum.
Based on the evidence over the last couple of weeks, that mantle has fallen on Andrew Porter.
Porter, like John Ryan, originally started out his rugby career as a loosehead before switching to the other side of the scrum.
Porter came on for Dave Kilcoyne during Ireland’s win over Wales in Cardiff over two weeks ago and he made an excellent impact, so strong that it led to Wales’ tighthead Leon Brown getting sent to the sin bin.
The Leinster prop has been in superb form and will likely be named on the bench this weekend for Ireland’s opening World Cup clash with Scotland in Yokohama.
However, the desire to make an impact, which of course comes natural, is second. Porter, if he does see minutes on Sunday, will be keen to immerse himself into the system first.
“What we’re always told is to fit in first, not to go away from the plan,” Porter said.
“So that’s what I’ll be looking to bring if I am on the bench. If I’m starting I’ll be more than happy to put my best foot forward, but I’ll also have a big job to do if I’m coming on as a substitute.”
His introduction will likely be on the tighthead side of the scrum and he admits getting to grips with his old position during the summer was difficult at first.
“It was a bit challenging at the beginning but I got my reps in training and I got a decent few minutes against Wales at loosehead. It’s liking riding a bike – you don’t really forget it. It’s where I started off, so I’m really excited to, if I have to cover both roles, I’m versatile. Looking forward to it.”
Both sides require different skills as Porter explains:
“Tighthead, you’re standing up trying to catch your breath after a while, trying not to pass out. You see the stars sometimes. Loosehead, you’re almost attacking; tighthead, you’re trying to lock it down so that would take it out of you a bit more.”
Whether Porter features at tighthead or loosehead, one thing is for certain, he will make an impact.