Club: Worcester Warriors. Player: John Andress (tight-head prop).
ON WEDNESDAY, DECLAN Kidney was asked if it was frustration that, seven months on from his complaint that there was only one Irishman playing as a first-choice tight-head across the provinces, the situation was still unchanged.
His reply of , “Yep.” Spoke much more than just three letters.
At 8pm tonight, Kidney will sit down with a solid Wifi connection to watch events in Sixways where Worcester Warriors take on Sale Sharks. His focus will be on the front row confrontation where both tight-heads are products of the Irish system.
“I’m looking forward to it, it will be interesting to see how I fare.” Says Worcester’s Belfast-born prop John Andress.
Andress easily recalls his only previous encounter with Tony Buckley – the 2005 AIL final when Andress and Belfast Harlequins lost out to a Shannon side on their way to three titles in succession. Perhaps defeats stick longer in the memory.
They certainly have this season.
Rock-bottom Sale are separated by only one win from Worcester after six games, but Warriors have come up pointless just once in six games this term. And Andress feels the club are in a false position.
“We feel we’re sat on the table with a couple of results that could have easily gone our way. Wasps was one we let slip away. I think we were in their 22 15 times or so and came away with no points and lost a narrow match.” He said, later adding:
“I feel we should have three wins really. The Bath and Gloucester game were both games where decisions didn’t go our way in the final minute.”
That 10-6 defeat at Adams Park left Worcester head coach Richard Hill saying his side would be “playing angry” from now on. Hill’s approach is one Andress responds strongly to.
“He’s a good coach. He’s a very honest, up front guy. He deals with things, there’s no bullshit and you can’t talk your way into the team.
“You have to be performing, that’s something I respect. His analysis of other teams, he’s very switched on when it comes to that aswell.”
At 28, Andress is a year younger than Mike Ross was when he made his Ireland debut as a 54th minute substitute against the US Eagles. He still has time to forge an international career, but knows that his chances will be limited as long as he plies his trade on (what selections have shown to be) the ‘wrong’ side of the sea.
However, with the ink barely dry on a two-year contract, he’s not keen to jump from the good ship Worcester either.
“I’m really settled,” Andress said emphatically. “At the end of the day, I wouldn’t want to come back to a province unless it had a spot open where I’d be in direct competition with another Irish person, not someone that’s coming in for loads of money, with loads of caps.”
Elsewhere in the Premiership
First up on Saturday, Exeter Chief’s Irish contingent will look to bounce back from double Heineken Cup disappointment on the road to Bath before the game of the weekend kicks off at Franklin’s Gardens where Northampton lock horns with Mark McCall’s Saracens. Rounding up Saturday’s action will be Gloucester‘s meeting with Leicester.
On Sunday, Conor O’Shea’s in-form Harlequins take on the Exiled halfbacks in London Irish plus, the alphabetically closest teams in the top tier face off in theLondon derby of Wasps v Welsh.