CHIBA, 16 Sep - He weighs 122kg and is emerging as one of the hardest, most unforgiving scrummagers in world rugby, but a photograph of Ireland prop Andrew Porter showed him in a different light this week.

The picture was one of an intimate series produced by the Irish agency Inpho, who captured all 31 squad players with the people and in the places that mean most to them.

Perhaps the most touching portrait in the collection showed Porter, 23, looking at a framed picture of his late mother, Wendy. 

Her death from breast cancer, when he was just 12, devastated Porter - and he has spoken movingly of how he struggled to cope with her loss.

"They were lovely pictures," the Leinster forward said at a press conference in the Ireland team hotel on Monday. “They show another side to us. We’re more than just players – we’re brothers, sons, boyfriends, husbands.

"It’s nice to be able to see that other side of people – it’s nice for us to be able to show people that. At the end of the day, we’re all human."

Porter, capped 18 times and proficient on both sides of the scrum, has his mother’s name tattooed on his left forearm.

He has previously spoken about suffering from an eating disorder while grieving for her.

"I went from being the biggest kid among my friends to the skinniest," he said.

"I saw photos of myself a few years ago from around that time. I had to rip them up and throw them away. I had to forget it. But all that distress and anguish I went through, is what made me who I am.”

The idea for the photograph came from Inpho’s Dan Sheridan, who Porter said has become a good friend of Porter and many of the Ireland players.

"It’s something I’d be able to talk to him openly about (his relationship with his mother). There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think of her.”

 Porter is likely to be part of Ireland’s match-day 23 against Scotland on Sunday in Yokohama and he says he is raring to go.

“If I’m starting, I’ll be more than happy to put my best foot forward, but I’ll also have a big job to do if I’m coming on as a substitute."

Porter broke into the international set-up as a tight-head but put in a notable stint on the other side of the scrum in a warm-up match against Wales.

“It’s liking riding a bike, you don’t really forget it. It’s where I started off, so if I have to cover both roles I’m looking forward to it.”

RNS ae/wh/djk