Nichola Fryday, the captain of the Irish woman’s rugby team, has announced that she is retiring from international rugby.
Nichola earned 34 caps for Ireland since her 2016 debut, leading the team through this year’s Six Nations, but now has decided to take a step away from the sport.
The announcement has come as a shock to many and the player reflected on the “highs and lows” of her career as she made a statement.
Nichola also thanked her fellow Irish rugby team as she announced her retirement.
She said: “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.
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“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.”
She went on to say that despite her love of the game and her team, her career had come to a “natural end”, thanking her home club in county Offaly, Tullamore RFC, for the start to her career, as well as Connacht.
She continued: “To every player I’ve been lucky enough to take the pitch within the green jersey, thank you for always pushing for more on and off the pitch.
“Some of my closest and dearest friends have been made on the pitch, always picking each other up on the hard days when giving up seemed like the easier choice. You’ll always be people I call my family.”
While Nichola is retiring from international rugby, the 28-year-old is set to continue to play for Exter Chiefs next season.