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Lindsay Peat | 'I never thought I'd come back and play international rugby again'

In the context of building for the World Cup qualifiers, Ireland's win against Italy at Energia P...

Lindsay Peat | 'I never though...

Lindsay Peat | 'I never thought I'd come back and play international rugby again'

In the context of building for the World Cup qualifiers, Ireland's win against Italy at Energia Park in the Six Nations last night was important.

A campaign which started well hit a wall with defeat to England in February, and while the World Cup qualifying tournament in December has now been postponed again, at the time the final matches versus Italy and France were a chance for Adam Griggs's side to blow off the cobwebs and set themselves right again.

For Lindsay Peat, the game against Italy was a chance to do something she had wondered if she'd ever be able to do again; play test rugby.

The prop suffered a broken ankle in the February defeat against England in Doncaster, and at the time of the injury she was immediately ruled out of the remainder of the tournament. 39-years-old at the time, the thought crossed her mind that the end was near, if it hadn't already arrived.

23 February 2020; Lindsay Peat of Ireland is stretchered off injured during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Castle Park in Doncaster, England. Photo by Simon Bellis/Sportsfile

Fast-forward 8 months and Peat - just shy of her 40th birthday - was back in the green jersey, scoring a try and setting one up in the hard-fought Six Nations win against the Italians. In doing so, she became the oldest woman to cross the line in the tournament.

On the eve of her 40th birthday, Peat spoke to Eoin Sheahan on OTB AM, about how she's had to fight insecurities around her age, and constantly remind herself that age and ability don't have to necessarily align.

9 September 2018; Lindsey Peat of Leinster celebrates after scoring her and her side's second try during the 2018 Women’s Interprovincial Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Leinster at the Sportgrounds in Galway. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"A little bit. But last week when we played Italy; what a way to prove age is only a number. I turn 40 tomorrow, I probably in my own head didn't want to be ever playing in an international pitch at 40 because I think it's an embarrassment. But then I think: "Well, you know there are world records to be looked at and can I surpass what other people have done and be a 40-year-old who has played in a World Cup qualifier, or maybe make a World Cup at that age?"

"I can put the limitations on myself if I want and it has been my own insecurity in my age and not having a place in a very young team. I think I'm only one of three of four when we put down our dates of birth that are born in the 80s, all the rest are actually 90s and 2000s.

"I was initially (embarrassed) I suppose because I feel maybe it's a young athletes world and it brings you back to that - what can I offer at that stage? Am I injury prone? Am I going to be slow, long to recover? I broke my leg against England - I never thought I'd come back and play international rugby again," she says.

The insecurities come and go, but being out on the pitch is reaffirming. Seeing the records written down in black and white is a reminder.

"I think if I'm not mistaken I'm the oldest person to score in the Six Nations, so I know hold a new title! It's those reminders, of overcoming those challenges where I remind myself: "No Lindsay, never stop competing, don't stop competing because you still have so much left to give. Until there's a time you feel you've done enough or don't want to give it anymore, it's on your terms.

"It does take me a little bit longer to recover than some of the others, but I also am very mindful of what I need to make sure I'm ready to go again."


Bank of Ireland are proud supporters of rugby in Ireland. As sponsors of the four competing provinces of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Rugby, they’re celebrating those who Never Stop Competing - on and off the pitch.

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