Sunday 20 October 2019

'I am not the kind of guy who went from one night to the next' - Peter Stringer on his rugby heyday

Dancing With The Stars' Peter Stringer and his wife Debbie at the launch of the Zenflore Christmas Everyday Stress Survey. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO
Dancing With The Stars' Peter Stringer and his wife Debbie at the launch of the Zenflore Christmas Everyday Stress Survey. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO
Peter Stringer and Valeria Milo during the Sixth live show of Dancing With The Stars . NO FEE FOR REPRO/kobpix
Peter and Debbie Stringer
Peter Stringer and wife Debbie O'Leary
Peter Stringer and Ksenia Zsikhotska dancing during the Fifth live show of Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Peter Stringer said he was never the type to go "from one night to the next" during his rugby heyday.

The former Munster and Ireland player, who retired from the game last year, was asked how he found dating culture as he was a well-known figure around the country by RSVP magazine, but he has always been focused on monogamy.

"There was always attention when you went out after a big game. But I am not that kind of guy and I am not someone who went from one night to the next. I have had three or four long-term relationships," he said.

It was this unassuming attitude to his fame and teetotal lifestyle that helped him click with Debbie, to whom he has been married for four years after being introduced on a night out in Cork through mutual friends. "I am a non-drinker and I enjoy having conversations with people. I like to get to know them and that is what happened with Debbie because we clicked straight away."

Peter Stringer and Ksenia Zsikhotska dancing during the Fifth live show of Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Peter Stringer and Ksenia Zsikhotska dancing during the Fifth live show of Dancing With The Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Their chemistry was instant, but their relationship was paused as Stringer went to Australia for five weeks with the Irish rugby squad in 2011, but made up for their time apart and he flew them to Rome for their first dinner date. "He pulled out all the stops," she said.

They welcomed son Noah in 2017.

Stringer is now back in the spotlight with a turn on Dancing with the Stars, emerging as one the frontrunners to take home the mirrorball trophy, and reflects on his career spanning 20 years with no regrets of the sacrifices made along the way.

"I  never saw it as a sacrifice. I really started training full-time on my own when I was 14, nobody was telling me or forcing me to do it. My dad was working in the States for a year and we went out for a summer, but there was a rugby camp on in Dublin and I wanted to fly back to be there for it," he said. "I flew back alone while my parents and the rest of the family went onto Florida for a holiday.

"I never got a J1 because I was straight into a professional rugby set-up, but who wouldn't swap a holiday for the career I have had playing in the green of Ireland and red of Munster? I don't regret anything I have done and I would do it all over again."

Peter Stringer and wife Debbie O'Leary
Peter Stringer and wife Debbie O'Leary

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