02 February, 2011

Six Nations Preview: At an age (31) when most are considering retirement from top-level rugby: Cork's Mike Ross gets his first Six Nations cap: all the way from Ballyhooly to Rome's Stadio Flaminio:

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In form Ross in training ahead of leaving for Rome
     Educated at St. Colman's College in Fermoy, the Ballyhooly native cut his teeth with the North Cork club before moving onto UCC and, briefly, Cork Constitution and Munster.
    Ross, a tighthead prop played just once for Munster before moving to the English Premiership, where he made 78 appearances for Harlequins. 
     He joined Leinster in 2009 and has played 39 times for the province. He has been the form prop in Europe this season.
Much medalled Ireland manager Declan Kidney (left)
     This is just the third cap - and first competitive international - for the 31 year-old. Manager Declan Kidney singled him out for special merit when naming his team to face Italy on Saturday. Undersatndably, Kidney was slow to overly praise Ross as he will be up against the strongest front row in the Six Nations on Saturday. Ross has however been in fine form over the last 12 months and has had the better of most opponents in that time. A solid performance on Saturday could propel him to the head of the queue when Declan Kidney finalises his World Cup squad after the Championship.
     Mike Ross's story is a real "rags to riches" - "never give up" (and probably a few other clichés) fairytale.

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