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Ireland captain Nichola Fryday announces retirement from international rugby

By PA
CORK, IRELAND: APRIL 22: Nichola Fryday #4 of Ireland during the Ireland V England, Women's Six Nations Rugby match at Musgrave Park on April 22nd, 2023, in Cork, Ireland. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ireland captain Nichola Fryday has announced her retirement from international rugby aged 28 but has said she will continue to play for her club Exeter Chiefs Women, who were Premier 15s runners-up last month.

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Fryday took over as Ireland captain in March 2022 following Ciara Griffin’s retirement. First capped against Canada in 2016, the Exeter Chiefs second row won 34 caps for Ireland and skippered Ireland in the last two Six Nations tournaments, including the most recent which saw Ireland collect the wooden spoon with zero wins from five, with Head Coach Greg McWilliams departing his role shortly after the campaign.

Fryday was among a number senior internationals not to have signed a professional contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union in November 2022, deciding to play her rugby oversees in Devon.

Nichola made the following announcement to the IRFU website saying:

“The 2023 Six Nations may not have been the tournament I had hoped to end my International career on, but one thing I learned with that phenomenal group of players was the true definition of grit and heart in the midst of adversity.

“My time representing my country has been full of highs and lows personally and as a collective. If back in 2015 you had told me when I first picked up a rugby ball in Tullamore RFC I would one day represent my country 34 times and captain the team for two seasons I wouldn’t have believed you.

“The beauty of women’s rugby is the endless possibilities and the huge growth still to be made in the sport for any girl or woman that decides to pick up a ball in their local club like I did.

“But at some stage it comes to a natural end and that time is now for me as I look to develop my career off the pitch while continuing to play club rugby with Exeter. There are endless thank you’s that I need to make to people that supported me and made me a better player and person over the years.”

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