CALVIN Nash (Munster/Young Munster) made his Test debut in Ireland’s routine win against Italy over the August Bank Holiday weekend in front of 40,000 supporters at the Aviva Stadium.
Nash was introduced early in the second-half for Robbie Henshaw and his stellar performance surely caught the attention of Head Coach Andy Farrell.
“When I got the ball, I just wanted to get straight into the game and get as many touches as I could. It was class,” said an elated Nash.
“I suppose being on the pitch for two seconds and nearly getting into a bit of a scrap was a bit funny, a good way to start and settle the nerves a tiny bit.”
Nash earned promotion of late to the pre-World Cup Squad on the back of an impressive effort with Emerging Ireland in South Africa last September.
This time last year the winger was actually battling for regular starts with Munster, but the season finished in a career best, one in which the 26-year-old (since Tuesday) scored 17 tries, including a crucial one in the URC Final defeat of Stormers in Cape Town.
Nash’s clubmate Keith Earls played the whole fixture, while Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) sustained a minor knock and loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemian/Munster) crossed for the opening try, only his second ever score in an Ireland senior jersey.
Ireland have remaining warm-up fixtures against England (Dublin, August 19) and Samoa (Bayonne, August 26) before Farrell will name his 33-man group for the World Cup in France.
Meanwhile, holders Munster begin the defence of their Women’s Inter-provincial championship against Ulster at City of Armagh on Saturday (3pm).
Of the 32-person squad, two dozen have been retained from last season. There are nine uncapped players, namely Abbie Salter-Townshend, Ellen Boylan, Jane Clohessy, Beth Buttimer, Aoibhe O’Flynn, Michelle O’Driscoll, Aoibheann Hahessy, Ciara McLoughlin and Ciara O’Dwyer.
Head Coach Niamh Briggs will announce her starting selection at lunchtime on Friday.