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Ireland centre Sene Naoupu announces her retirement from international rugby

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Sene Naoupu (centre) has announced her retirement from international rugby

Sene Naoupu (centre) has announced her retirement from international rugby

Sene Naoupu (centre) has announced her retirement from international rugby

Ireland centre Sene Naoupu has announced her retirement from international rugby.

The 38-year-old, who originally moved to this country from New Zealand when husband George joined Connacht, established herself as a modern-day titanic force in the sport here.

Emerging as a rampaging, bustling midfielder, during the 2015 Six Nations title success, she also featured in the ultimately doomed hosting of the 2017 World Cup.

Also a proficient Sevens player, she was one of so many players who were occasionally restricted from the long-form game as the sport began to stumble from crisis to crisis.

In 2020, a serious neck injury seemed to indicate that she may have to retire from the sport but, typifying the bravery that marked her latter-day flowering as an international player, she returned for that year’s Six Nations.

Overlooked for this campaign under new coach Greg McWilliams, she was belatedly drafted in to close a difficult campaign amidst a time of flux as Ireland closed the championship with a gritty last-minute win against Scotland.

She was again omitted from McWilliams’ plans for the forthcoming two-test tour in Japan, with the coaching staff keen to develop a different age profile of squad following their dismal World Cup qualification failure 12 months ago.

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