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2018 Women’s Six Nations: The crazy career of Ireland prop Peat

Ireland loosehead prop Lindsay Peat came to rugby late in her sporting career
2018 Women’s Six Nations: England v Ireland
Venue: Ricoh Arena Date: Friday 16 March Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Representing Ireland is something Lindsay Peat has done so often, in so many sports – she would be forgiven for taking it all for granted by now.

While Friday’s game against England ends her third Six Nations campaign, that is not nearly the whole story of this remarkable all-rounder.

Peat played basketball and soccer for Ireland and won an All-Ireland gaelic football title before turning to the oval ball.

Frequency has not bred familiarity because every time she pulls on a green jersey she gets the same buzz and the same excitement.

“It is always a privilege, always a very emotional time every time I get into that jersey,” said the 37-year-old.

Lindsay Peat has had a remarkable rise through the ranks in international women’s rugby

“It sounds a cliche but you appreciate the amount of people who would give their right arm to do it, and I get the opportunity to wear that number one jersey.

“I came pretty late to rugby and I suppose I regret that, but then I’d have to sacrifice the other experiences that I’ve had, and it’s been a very successful and privileged career so far. I know I’ve been very lucky.”

Basketball was her first love and she played at Super League level with Dublin City University before progressing to international level in 2006. She was co-captain during a four-year stint in the game.

By that stage she’d also played underage soccer for the Republic of Ireland and in 2010 won an All-Ireland gaelic football with Dublin when they beat Tyrone in the final before rugby came calling.

“It’s funny. I’ve played in three Six Nations campaigns and a World Cup, but I’m only getting to grips to the game now – and unfortunately I’m an ageing woman.”

Lindsay Peat with son Barra after Ireland’s World Cup defeat by Wales at Kingspan Stadium last summer

World Cup disaster

Mention of the 2017 Women’s Rugby Cup, when Ireland crashed and burned as hosts to finish in eighth place, causes Peat to wince.

“It was a disaster,” she added.

“We wanted to emulate the girls who got to the World Cup semi-final [in 2014] if not better it, but it unravelled and got worse. The icing on cake was the loss to Wales.

“We’ve had a lot of retirements, and we’re starting again with a new bunch of players and a new management team.”

With Adam Griggs now in charge, Ireland set themselves a target of winning their three home games in this Six Nations campaign.

After a heavy opening-round defeat against France in Toulouse, it was job done against Italy and Wales in Donnybrook before Sunday’s 15-12 defeat by the Scots floored the Irish camp.

Scotland celebrated a first win over Ireland since 2007

“We hadn’t lost to them since 2007 and we shot ourselves in the foot with poor handling errors.

“It would have been nice to win and go to England with something to play for this weekend.

“They are the world number two side, and go over to the Ricoh Arena to play for a Triple Crown would have been a hugely successful season.”

England’s hopes of a second successive Six Nations title suffered a major blow as they lost to a last-minute try against France last Saturday.

They can still win the title if leaders France slip up against Wales, but the Irish have their own motivations.

“We need to show character and bounce back from the Scotland loss and really put in a performance against England,” Peat said.

“England are very clear in what they do and how they play. They’re very confident in what they can bring to the game.

“If we do what we did against Scotland and France and turn the ball over, England will destroy us.

“We need to get our hands on the ball, slow the game down and make sure we take our opportunities when they appear.”

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