'I really want to play against England, against fellahs I played with growing up'

Kieran Treadwell is living the dream with Ireland and wants that to carry on into next month’s match against England at Twickenham.

James Humes congratulates Treadwell.
James Humes congratulates Treadwell.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KIERAN TREADWELL WONDERED if he’d ever get a taste of a day like this. After making appearances in Ireland’s summer tour to Japan in 2017 and then in a November test that autumn, his international hibernation kicked in.

Others got their chance. He stayed in the queue, the wrong side of the ropes. Even last summer – when injuries mounted and Ireland’s Lions disappeared to South Africa, he didn’t make Andy Farrell’s extended squad for the internationals against Japan and USA. Yesterday he made the bench and then, for the last quarter, the pitch, scoring one of Ireland’s tries in their 57-6 win over the Italians.

“It was massive for me,” Treadwell said of the experience. “2017, it’s been a long time since I got my last cap. So to get in there and get an appearance, it was massive for me.

“Throughout the week, everyone was there to support me and help. We’re a tight-knit squad and that’s happened in a relatively short amount of time. For me, 2017 the last time, that’s a long time and I’ve been trying to get myself back in the frame by playing as well as I can. The fact we have all the same goal made it easier.”

Except his goal was more personal than the ones other players had. He wanted to prove to himself, firstly, that he belonged at this level.

kieran-treadwell-wins-a-lineout Treadwell claims a line-out in the Italy win. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“You have to make it count when you get the chance,” the Ulster lock said. “For me a massive thing is consistency. I think I have a bit more of a hold on what I need to do to be consistently performing at a high-level. That’s something of a change in what I’ve done. Again, it’s just being confident you’re doing the right thing.”

He firmly believes he did the right thing moving across from England, where he grew up, to live in Belfast. Ulster is home now, Ireland his country of choice. England, his place of birth, is who Ireland face next in two weeks.

“It’s keeping myself in the frame and in the mindset. We’re such a tight squad. We’re all going for the same goal and if my job that week is to prepare other people then that’s me. Obviously I’m a hungry, I really want to play, especially against England, playing against players I’ve played with and against while I was growing up. That would be fun.”

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Comedian Michael Fry is our special guest on this week’s episode of The Front Row, in partnership with Guinness. Joining host Seán Burke, Eimear Considine and Murray Kinsella, he chats about his family’s rugby background and his short-lived playing days, before using his musical ear to rank the anthems of each Guinness Six Nations team. Click here to subscribe or listen below:

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Originally published at 06.00

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