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Lions cry off Porter celebrates return to action with Leinster try

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It was quite the first half in Dublin on Saturday for Andrew Porter, the Leinster front-rower who was playing for the first time since a foot injury cruelly forced him to cry off from the Lions tour before Warren Gatland’s squad got to assemble at base camp in Jersey. The front-rower suffered the injury on Rainbow Cup duty with Leinster in Glasgow on the first weekend of June, the damage proving sufficient enough that he wouldn’t be able to tour and it led to original headline omission Kyle Sinckler getting called up. 


Sixteen weeks later, Porter finally returned to action and to say it was eventful would be an understatement. The fun and games had started on the Friday with Leo Cullen naming the tighthead as the starting loosehead and the intrigue was added to by having regular loosehead Cian Healy covering tighthead from the replacements bench.

Within minutes of Porter’s comeback, there was a feisty exchange with Bismarck du Plessis when a scrum penalty was awarded to Leinster at the game’s first set-piece, but then came the emotional release that made all local hearts swoon.  

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Jack Nowell guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload
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A cheeky little kick by Johnny Sexton had caused consternation in the visiting Bulls defence and when some control was gained on the ball, it was Porter who crossed the line to score the converted try that put Leinster 17 points clear just 13 minutes into a round one match in the revamped United Rugby Championship. So happy was Porter with the score, he even chucked the ball into the crowd before his teammates arrived to congratulate him.  

The adventure didn’t end there for the fit-again Porter as he was to spend some first-half time in the blood bin after taking quite a whack to the head in an accidental tackle collision. However, he returned before the interval to warn applause from the Lansdowne Road crowd and he went on to play 19 minutes of the second half before getting called ashore.

It was fellow Lions prop Tadhg Furlong who best described the sense of disappointment that unfolded when it emerged that the Leinster and Ireland player had to quit the Lions last June before it had even begun, Porter’s tour involvement restricted to an administration camp in London. “It’s so tough on Andrew Porter, I only found out on social media,” explained Furlong when the tour got going.  


“I didn’t know. I was absolutely… I was on the floor because I know how hard he works and how diligent he is and how well he has performed all year. I get on well with Kyle and power to him, he had some adversity there and he spoke about it and he is on the rebound now and sport is like that sometimes.”


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