Sean Moore - from one engine room to another

2.3.2017 www.wru.co.uk

Sean Moore for Wales
Sean Moore for Wales

Time has flown for second row Sean Moore, the 19-year-old who went from starting the season with Mountain Ash to making his Wales U20 debut against England last month.

"I've played for Mountain Ash since I was about seven and worked my way up all the way through," says Moore, who is proud of his Cynon Valley roots. "I was captain of the youth side last year, but everything took off for me about eight months ago."

He had taken up the invitation to train with Bridgend Ravens before a phone call from closer to home, via former Wales international Robert Sidoli, turned into an offer from Pontypridd. "It was a dual contract between Pontypridd and Mountain Ash, meaning that I can play for both - so it's a win-win for me. I've played six games for Mount this season, so it's nice to go back and play alongside the boys who were my teammates when I was a kid."

Moore's route to playing for Wales U20 is more unconventional than most, given that he's never had any regional involvement. "I didn't even get into the Ponty District U15s, so it's fair to say the last few months have gone very quickly!" he says.

"I've started to get a lot more knowledgeable about certain things, especially the lineouts, and I'm enjoying it," he admits. "I'm learning more of the technical stuff all the time. Whether it's with Mountain Ash, Pontypridd or here with Wales U20, everything they teach you, they teach you for a reason, so I take it all on board."

Eager to learn away from the rugby field as well, he is currently in the second year of an apprenticeship with GE Aviation at their Nantgarw plant. Moore outlines his role there as such: "Airlines send their engines in and we strip them down, give them a full service, test them and send them back. Work have been really good with giving me time off for my rugby too, which I really appreciate."

When he was first invited to train at the Wales U20 camp late last year, he feared his chances were over before they'd even begun. "A week before the camp I went over on my ankle and strained all the ligaments, so I was able to attend but I couldn't train. It was my first big opportunity and I couldn't do anything about it."

Another shot came last month, when his name was included for the second squad get-together. "I couldn't go because I was named in the Pontypridd squad to play RGC," he says, exasperated at the memory. "Then when the Six Nations squad was announced I wasn't included in the original list, so now I'm just glad to have been named in the starting team for the latest two games."

"Surreal" is how he describes winning his first cap against England last month at Parc Eirias. "At the start of the season I thought I was going to be playing for Mountain Ash, so to be representing my country is crazy. The team environment is really good, and I've been getting to know all the boys. I know some of them from playing against them when I was younger, but some of them I've only known since I linked up with the squad."

Weighing in at 110kg, and standing 6'4" tall, Moore is more than equipped to take the big hits (and deal them out in equal measure), but it was the speed of the match against England which most stands out for him. "It was very tough. Physicality-wise, the collisions weren't as big as the ones I experience in Premiership, because the men are a lot bigger there, but the speed of the ball was something else," he says. "I can't remember how much running I did, but it was a brilliant experience. My parents travelled up and they were crying."

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