Marty Moore looking forward to renewing Wasps acquaintances
MARTY Moore just had to smile when he learned that Ulster would be playing his former club Wasps in a pre-season friendly at the Ricoh Arena where he spent two seasons after moving from his native Leinster.
The 10-times capped Ireland prop could hardly have imagined that he would be returning to Coventry so quickly, having bade farewell to his former team-mates only a few months ago.
The 27-year-old will make his first start for Ulster in tonight's game, having come off the bench in last week's loss to Gloucester at Kingspan Stadium.
He is looking forward to renewing a few old acquaintances and catching up with friends and family after the game as Ulster finalise their preparations for next Saturday's PRO14 opener with Scarlets in Belfast.
"When I found out we were playing Wasps, I just laughed because my family had been over at most home games last season and always stayed in the hotel on site there at the Ricoh," Moore said.
"So they were kind of saying in April or May, this is going to be the last trip. They knew all the hotel staff by first name so they saying their good byes.
"Two weeks later I rang them up and said you know we have a game there in August, so you'll be back over.
"So, yeah, it's good and I'll look forward to going back over. It should be an interesting game although it will probably be a little looser than in the league.
"But it'll be good to go back and see some of those guys and, hopefully, get we can get a result from it."
Moore has ambitions to play for Ireland again, having slipped under the radar after the move to England and he says he is grateful that his former club didn't stand in his way.
"I'd another year to go at Wasps but they were very accommodating when I got a call last summer to say that there was interest here if I wanted to move back," he added.
"It was good timing because I was kind of feeling a bit like I wanted to be back in the Irish system and make a go of it and possibly internationally again.
"I suppose I know a lot of the guys, who were previously at Leinster, so that's made things a lot easier and I know obviously a lot about Ulster from playing them as well."
Moore believes his experience in the English Premiership will stand to him as he attempts to hold down a regular starting position at tight head amidst strong competition.
"I think we have 10 props in the squad between loose and tight at the moment so there's going to be a lot of competition but I think that's the best way to be," he said.
"Every week was a big learning week over there and there's no let up where you kind of feel like you're at a point where you can just motor along.
"It was always a new challenge even physically trying to get where you need to be, weight-wise and strength-wise.
"It's a very different type of league to the PRO14 as well, so I feel like it's been a great couple of years experience for me.
"I did enjoy it but then, obviously, when the opportunity did arise to come back, it just was a good fit and it seemed like the right thing to do."