Sunday 24 September 2017

Copeland thrilled to 'get foot in the door'

Cardiff Blues player Robin Copeland
Cardiff Blues player Robin Copeland
Robin Copeland will start for the Irish Wolfhounds

Tim Lewis

Munster-bound Robin Copeland believes his decision to return to Ireland has been justified by his surprise call-up to the national squad.

The Wexford native was named as one of seven uncapped players in Joe Schmidt's training panel for the Six Nations following a string of impressive performances for Cardiff Blues.

The 26-year-old will end his two-year stay in Wales in June having signed a two-year contract with Munster.

He decided to leave Wales to boost his international prospects ahead of next year's World Cup but admits the Ireland call came sooner than expected.

Copeland said: "It's very pleasing to get a look in. It was pretty unexpected, I didn't think I would get a look in until I tried to prove myself back home in Ireland. It's nice to get my foot in the door.

"Hopefully if it goes well there are summer tours and the autumn internationals - and it all leads towards the World Cup."

Copeland started his career at Leinster while at St Mary's College before signing for Plymouth Albion in the English second tier at the age of 22. He was a huge hit at the south west club, scoring five tries in 20 appearances and was soon snapped up by promotion hopefuls Rotherham Titans. Another fine season in the Championship prompted the Blues to swoop for him and he has impressed both at No 8 and flanker for the Welsh region.

Copeland said: "It's nice to get a bit of recognition but I don't think my game is fully there yet. I have only been playing No 8 for 14 or 15 months so I am still learning my trade there."

Copeland will battle with Munster stalwart James Coughlan for a starting spot in Rob Penney's side, but he is seen as a long-term replacement for the 33-year-old.

His bigger challenge will be to oust Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien from the Ireland team.

"It's going to be a big challenge to try and nail down a place in the Munster team, never mind the Ireland side," said Copeland.

Irish Independent

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