Mike Ross announced his retirement from rugby earlier today, calling to an end a trophy-laden career that included two Six Nations titles, two Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup along with two Pro12 titles, which might be three by the time he hangs up the scrum cap.
Ross appeared on Newstalk's Off the Ball this evening to reflect on his career, and to look forward to his future. During the course of the conversation, Ross recalled one of the more offbeat memories that linger from his playing career, in which he asked Trevor Hogan to defend him and ended up getting punched in the face. Allow the Irish prop to tell the story:
I was with Ireland 'A' in Chicago, I think it was in 2009. We were playing Argentina, and in every scrum, this Argie second-row was hammering me in the face. I'd always see this big fist coming up, whacking me in the eye, and disappearing again. I'm bound up, I can't get to him, so I'm going mad. I say to Trevor Hogan, 'Trev, next scrum, will you whack that bugger for me?'. 'Sure thing, Skin', in that Tipperary accent of his that I won't even try to do.
So at the next scrum, we're down, and of course the Argie is whacking me in the face. So next thing, I see this big, brown fist come up through my legs... and punch me square in the nose.
Friendly fire. Obviously, I'm roaring, 'What the hell Trevor!?', and he's saying 'Sorry, sorry, I couldn't reach'. So he tried God bless him, but the execution left a lot to be desired. I tried to get at him near the end, in a maul, and he absolutely filled me in, he had a superior reach. Our team doc, Eanna Falvey, still has a picture on his phone of my eye looking like Rocky Balboa.
Ross also revealed his career path post-rugby, which is slightly different to the usual route of punditry and/or coaching. He is working with a software company called Wizuda:
They specialise in data protection. So if you have any details with a company, you have the right to have them looked after. So if I search something on Amazon, within ten minutes I'll see targeted ads. I think people are getting fed up of it, and it will be interesting to see what is done in the legislature over the coming years to see what is done with that. But for now, we have this EU directive that all companies have to comply with, or the fines can be quite substantial: 20 million, or 4% of your turnover, whichever is larger. So there is a substantial incentive there for people to comply with it. So we have developed a system to make sure people are covered, and it's a very interesting field.
Listen to the full interview on Newstalk's website.