Tuesday 28 March 2017

Where are they now?

RICHARD WALLACE

(Former Irish international)

Playing rugby for Ireland was something that Richard Wallace didn't dream about until he was in his late teens. In fact, it wasn't until he was selected for the Munster under 21 squad that he really thought it was something he could achieve.

"I never thought I could be good enough to play for Ireland and dreaming about it would have been a dream too far," he says.

But the winger achieved his ambition and played for Ireland for almost a decade. He made his debut in the disastrous tour to Namibia in 1991, although it was still a very special occasion for him personally.

Two years later, however, his career hit new heights when he was selected for the Lions Tour to New Zealand.

Although Wallace finished his career with Saracens, Munster is where his heart is. He was on the first Munster team to compete in the Heineken Cup and is very proud of the record his former team have in the competition.

"I think Munster's run over the last ten years was exceptional; in any sport anywhere in Europe to achieve what they did would have been brilliant. Back when I was playing I don't think I expected Munster to do that well but I definitely expected the club to improve against its peers alright."

Richard Wallace isn't the only member of his family to have a successful rugby career, his brothers David and Paul both represented Ireland and were selected for the Lions. David, of course, sadly missed out on this year's World Cup after he suffered an injury in the warm-up match against England in August.

"It was very difficult to watch him get injured, worse than if it happened to myself. Particularly because of the fitness levels he had got himself to at that stage and the commitment that he had shown over the summer and all through his career. I felt that it was going to be a serious World Cup for him so it was very disappointing."

Wallace thinks that Ireland have a good chance of going all the way. He believes the gap is closing between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere and that has been the biggest change in the game since he retired.

For the last 11 years he has been an airline captain for CityJet and just over two years ago he married Limerick woman Elaine Stapleton.

Sunday Indo Sport

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