I was delighted when it was announced that Lauren Day had won the Senior Player of the Year category at the recent Ulster Women’s Awards.
Not only was it fitting that the award, sponsored by ourselves, went to a front row player but also I’d been keeping an eye on Lauren’s career since she first turned out for Cooke a few short years ago.
In that time Lauren has picked up 12 Ulster Caps and 6 Ireland Caps and is currently training with the Ireland Squad as they prepare for the Women’s World Cup.
Fellow Cooke player Eliza Downey has also made the final squad and the girls are currently working hard for their opening game against England on 20th August, a match that will be covered live on Sky Sports.
Lauren took time out of her busy schedule to bring us up to date on her rugby career so far:
When and why did you start playing rugby?
Growing up I was completely unaware that women’s rugby existed, playing hockey for my school and club as well as competing in athletics. It wasn’t until one of the girls in my hockey squad had to take up a new sport as part of her university course (she choose rugby) an asked me to come along. After my first training session I was hooked and haven’t looked back since.
I have been playing rugby for three years now and have had the privilege of representing Ireland for two of those years. For me rugby provides me with a challenge, one I really enjoy. Stepping off the pitch after a tough training session/match you are both mentally and physically drained as you are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and learning something new.
Most memorable match that you played in and why was it memorable?
I would have to say it was my first cap for Ireland against Scotland it the 2009 6 Nations tournament. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous and excited at the same time before. I can remember the exact moment when Steven Hennessy (Irish coach at the time) called me down from the subs bench with 17mins to go – my adrenaline was pumping mixed with my nerves but I loved every second of it. Ireland went on to win the match 23-0
Least memorable match. Do you have a match that you’d like to forget?
My second start for Ulster in 2008 wins hands down! The previous week we had played extremely well against Munster the week before at Ravenhill, narrowly missing out by 3pts. We arrived confident and as the match kicked off things certainly didn’t go to plan. For me personally, as I’m a Prop, set piece is a very important aspect of my game and in this match I was propping against Fiona Coghlan (Irish Women’s loose head prop). My scrums were not going very well at all and I let my head drop, I can remember just wanting the final whistle to blow. I came off the pitch deflated – and may have even shed a few tears as I was so disappointed with myself. As I look back on this match I realise just how inexperienced and new to the game I was but that feeling of disappointment only pushed me to get better.
Toughest opponent. Who and why?
I would have to say England as we have never beaten them before but in the last few games we have came close in doing so. We play England first in the World Cup – our opening game of the tournament which will be televised on Sky Sports! It’s a challenge I know everyone is looking forward to and I have every faith we are going to rise to the occasion.
Worst room-mate? Who stops you from getting a good nights sleep?
Although I haven’t roomed with her as yet, Irish Captain Fiona Coghlan is renowned amongst the squad for being the worst room-mate. Not for having any major bad habits nor for excessive snoring just merely for the fact she is a bit of a night owl and is NEVER there!
Longest in the changing room. Who out of all your team mates takes longest getting ready after a game?
I had a little laugh when I read this question as it was only last week I was waiting around for a good 20+ mins on Ulster’s own Eliza Downey. I don’t know what that girl does in order to always make for last in the changing room week in week out but it has become a running joke between us both as I have to give her a wee nudge from time to time telling her to hurry up!!
The IRB Women’s World Cup takes place in Surrey, kicking off on Friday 20th August 2010 and finishing on Sunday 5th September with finals matches at The Stoop.
Ireland are in a tough group with England, USA and Kazakhstan. Their Pool Fixtures are as follows.
Friday 20th August, 18:30 – England v Ireland
Tuesday 24th August, 16:30 – USA v Ireland
Saturday 28th August, 16:30 – Ireland v Kazakhstan