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Dublin: 8°C Monday 12 April 2021

Boring lecture ended with news of first Ireland cap to liven up Nicole Fowley

Last week’s performance has earned Nicole Fowley a second start for Ireland this weekend.

Nicole Fowley is looking forward to Ireland's second test tomorrow.
Nicole Fowley is looking forward to Ireland's second test tomorrow.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL Nicole Fowley was handed her Test debut last weekend for the first outing of Ireland’s November Test series against England.

She paired up with Sene Naoupu in the centre and her performance has earned her a second consecutive starting jersey tomorrow against Canada.

Head Coach Tom Tierney revealed his selection the Thursday before the game but Fowley discovered she would be making her Test bow ahead of that. The Galwegians player explains how she was just out of a lecture when a call came through from Tierney to give her the good news.

Ireland’s Nicole Fowley Nicole Fowley in action against England last weekend. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I think he told me on the Monday,” she told The42. ”I had just finished an accounting lecture which was quite boring and then I got the phone call and I picked up the phone and he was like, ‘congratulations you’re starting at 13 for your first cap.’ I just said, “What? Are you sure?” He told me to take the opportunity and I took it.”

“Even to just be in the squad,” she added, “I would have been ecstatic or in the 23 because the depth that’s there and the quality of players is just brilliant so I just had to switch on and focus on what I had to do.”

“He’s given me a start last week for my first cap and he’s starting me again Saturday so I’m just going to try and make the best of it. It’s the same for all the girls who are getting a start. They’re going to go hell for leather and try and get their place for next weekend against New Zealand.”

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She admits that the pace of the game was difficult to adjust to in the early stages but found her rhythm alongside the familiar playing style of Sene Naoupu, who was her clubmate at Galwegians before moving to England this year.

“I was just so focused on the game at hand and getting our job right as a team that I just went for it and I was working with Sene Naoupu inside me and the two of us and whatever place she went I went. She’s actually from my club so I would have played rugby with her as well before hand so we’re well use to each other.”

Fowley is expecting a tough assignment when they host Canada tomorrow at the UCD Bowl. But she says it’s important to embrace these challenges in order to get the maximum effort out of the players ahead of next year.

“There’s great depth in the squad as it is. Everyone’s involved and everyone’s included in meetings and trainings. We’ve all trained together, we all know each other well enough. The match-day is only 23 but before that we train together so it’s just a matter of switching people in and out and getting game time and getting to the standard.”

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