Stephen Moore hoping for luck of the Irish
November 13, 2013
Stephen Moore is yet to taste victory in three trips to Dublin © Getty Images
Stephen Moore has Irish parents, an Irish passport, a cousin who plays International Rules for Ireland, and he loves returning to his first home to play for the Wallabies. But the stalwart hooker is yet to taste Test success in Ireland, his best result from three trips to Dublin the heart-breaking last-gasp draw at Croke Park that dashed Wallabies' hopes of a 2009 Grand Slam.
He lost his place in Eddie Jones' team before the Wallabies won 30-16 on his first visit in 2005, then Australia were bashed up and taught a harsh lesson in wet-weather football at Lansdowne Road in 2006.
"It hasn't been great," the Wallabies' most-capped front-rower said. "Hopefully that will change this weekend. It's always a special week, very much so, particularly over here. There's always lots of people to catch up with and find tickets for. My dad's from Galway and my mum from Mayo, so there's always a lot of talk about their football team, too."
Among his relatives is cousin Paddy O'Rourke, a Gaelic football star who played goalkeeper for Ireland in the International Rules series against Australia's Indigenous AFL team. O'Rourke showed Moore around Croke Park, the spiritual home of Gaelic football, before the 2009 clash when Brian O'Driscoll's last-minute try snatched a memorable draw.
Moore was born in Saudi Arabia and his parents moved back to Salthill, just outside Galway, when he was a baby; he lived his first five years there before settling in Brisbane.
He gained Ireland's attention as a teenager, and was tempted to take up their advances to don the emerald green jersey at 19.
"There was a bit of interest there, obviously with my background, but I think at the time my head was spinning about everything," the 88-Test hooker said. "When it came down to it, it wasn't a difficult decision. I had always grown up following Australia and wanting to play for the Wallabies."
Moore has been an ironman for the Brumbies and the Wallabies this year, playing more minutes than any other player in the country in racking up 29 matches and rarely getting an early shower.
He was voted the players' player - Man Of Gold - in the 50-20 win over Italy in Turin, and Australia again need him at his best against the rugged Ireland pack.
"It's going to be a tight contest in terms of close-quarters rugby and set-piece contests," he said.
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