Saturday 26 May 2018

Lam hails new cap White for sticking with Ireland dream

Nathan White received praise from coach Pat Lam for his determination
Nathan White received praise from coach Pat Lam for his determination

John Fallon

Connacht coach Pat Lam said that it measure of his endurance and determination that Nathan White was able to overcome injury and disappointment to become the oldest player in the professional era to make his debut for Ireland.

The prop who was born in New Zealand will be 34 next month, and is now the third oldest player to make his debut for Ireland and passes John Fogarty as the oldest in the professional era to make his bow.

White, who became Irish-qualified last October, was poised to be selected against South Africa last November but his hopes of an international cap seemed to be over when he ruptured tendons in his right arm and faced months on the sidelines.

But he battled back ahead of schedule and came off the bench for the Irish Wolfhounds against England Saxons in Cork in January, but didn't get a look-in during the Six Nations.

Lam said that White never gave up on his international dream, even when it was pulled away from him when he was on the cusp of his debut last November.

"He was disappointed and so were we but there is nothing you can do but get back and work, control what you can do and just work hard and get back.

"And Nathan has done that and we are very pleased for him, a proud moment for him and his family and a proud moment for Connacht when he ran on the field, another capped player for Connacht.

"He is a senior player for us, very respected and I know he will make the most of the opportunity to try and push for a place in the World Cup squad.

"It is a measure of the man that he never gave up, that's what he is like, he just gets on with it," said Lam.

White, a Heineken Cup winner with Leinster in 2012, is now third on the list of Ireland's oldest debutants.

Lock Davy Tweed, jailed for eight years in 2013 after being convicted of child sex abuse, was 35 years and 111 days when made his debut against France in Lansdowne Road in 1995, while prop Phelim McLoughlin was 34 years and 162 days when he made his bow against Australia in Lansdowne Road in 1976.


White was 33 years and 345 days when he came off the bench on Saturday to become Ireland's third oldest debutant in history, and the oldest in the professional era.

White moves ahead of scrum-half Arthur Horan, who was 33 years and 124 days when he made his debut against England in 1920, while lock Richard Wilkinson was 32 years and 257 days when his bow came against Australia in 1947.

Next on the list is current Leinster scrum coach Fogarty, who was 32 years and 257 days when he made his debut against New Zealand in New Plymouth in 2010, becoming the oldest player to debut in the professional era.

The only others capped for the first time in their thirties in the professional era are James Downey, who 32 years and 84 days when he played against Canada in 2013, and Sky Sports presenter Brian Carney was 30 years and 307 days when he made his debut against Argentina in 2007.

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport