Saturday 21 April 2018

Unfinished business drives Nagle return

Ian Nagle is preparing to make his comeback at the end of the college year.
Ian Nagle is preparing to make his comeback at the end of the college year.

Declan Rooney

Former Munster lock Ian Nagle - man of the match in their 2010 win over Australia -looks to be on the verge of a shock return to professional rugby 18 months after taking a break from the game.

Nagle, currently preparing for next week's Cambridge-Oxford varsity match alongside Welsh international Jamie Roberts, is now a student in the illustrious MBA business course at Cambridge.

After receiving offers from some of the top professional clubs in Ireland and England, the 27-year-old is prepared to make his comeback at the end of the college year.

It is believed that London Irish and Worcester Warriors are keen, while Munster, Leinster and Ulster have expressed an interest.

Before being accepted to the UK's top college this September, Nagle worked in Washington DC with the aim of a future career in a venture capital firm, but despite being frustrated with his progress as a rugby player, he's ready to give it another shot.

"I know I'm fortunate. Every reason I took a break from rugby was a positive one. I got to have a say in the break - it wasn't enforced," said Nagle.

"I was in no man's land in terms of the guarantees I had. I took time away from rugby before I had the guarantee of getting into the MBA. But I knew what I wanted to do and I was fortunate to be able to transfer the discipline of what I learned in rugby into something different."

The big second-row played 28 times for Munster, but last featured for the southern province in December 2013, before he moved on loan to Newcastle in the English Premiership. Injury halted his progress in the UK before he decided to make a clean break from the game altogether. Any return home to Ireland would be an emotional trip for the Buttevant man, but he seems open to whatever opportunities come his way.

"Munster made it clear that the door will always be open for me to come back. There were a few clubs that I spoke to before I finished with Munster and I flagged it with them too that I was thinking of taking time away from the game.

"I have kept in touch with a few of them throughout the year. If I hadn't been accepted to the MBA I had a few opportunities to go back and play rugby, but when I got in a few of them said the door would be open for me to come back," said Nagle

"All going well something will pop up in the New Year," Nagle said.

Being behind Paul O'Connell, Donnacha Ryan and Donncha O'Callaghan in the pecking order meant chances to shine were few and far between, but he says it was his own frustrations that drove him back to academia.

"I found myself a little bit frustrated, but it was never at any one or any thing. It was myself I was frustrated with," he said. "For nine years I sacrificed everything for rugby and I was happy to do so, but I was frustrated that I didn't achieve everything I wanted to."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport