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Prop White could start for Ireland
23 Oct 2014 13:01
Connacht prop Nathan White will make his first Ireland start against South Africa if Mike Ross does not shake off his groin injury.
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Head coach Joe Schmidt has confirmed he will draw on New Zealand-born White's Super Rugby experience at tighthead if Ross is sidelined for the 8 November clash.
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Former Chiefs and Leinster prop White will become Ireland's fourth oldest debutant of all time at 33 years and 51 days if he faces the Springboks at the Aviva Stadium.
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New Zealander Schmidt has promoted White with Marty Moore sidelined after shoulder surgery - and warned of three huge scrummaging challenges ahead next month.
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"Nathan White is very experienced. He's played a lot of Super Rugby. He's 33, so he's no spring chicken but his experience is one of the reasons why we have picked him," Schmidt said.
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"I'm not sure whether Mike (Ross) will play this weekend or next weekend, because at the moment it's symptom-based.
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"If he's able to play then great; if he unavailable for South Africa I think we've got a bit of experience in Nathan and we've got Rodney (Ah You) who has really picked up his form and Steven Archer who is on his way back to form.
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"Connacht's two tighthead boys are rewarded for some really good performances - Rodney against Glasgow, Nathan against a number of sides.
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"Probably uppermost for Nathan was how we went against Jack McGrath and Cian Healy in the derby game against Leinster.
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"To be honest, there aren't too many other options given other injuries. Tadhg Furlong we do believe is a long-term option, but at the moment he's pretty young to be thrown in."
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