After 60 minutes played in the Pool D opener at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday, tighthead prop Nathan White became the first Connacht player to be capped at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 34-year-old savoured the experience and at a media conference on Monday, spoke of his excitement for the next opportunity in green and his desire to push on and challenge Mike Ross for the starting spot at number three:

“Definitely, ” he said. “Mike has been there for a long time, but my job is to push him and keep him honest. If something happens, then I want to be ready to take my chance if I get one.”

Following some major disappointments and near-misses due to injury, White worked his way back into contention this year and finally won his first international cap off the bench against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in August:

“There was almost a bit of relief. It was an amazing feeling standing there; Mick (Kearney), the manager just said ‘right, you’re on’. There was no waiting around, it was straight up: bib off and on (the pitch). I guess there was a lot of satisfaction for all the work over the years.”

 “Getting another opportunity, I’ve got a real respect for that, being given another crack. It’s great. Being able to play at a World Cup is fantastic. Mum and Dad are very proud about it all, playing at the highest level.

“There were some pretty dark moments there thinking ‘is it worth it?’ But sitting here now, it definitely is. It was great to stick at it and keep going.”

Joe Schmidt’s men will face Romania in their second pool game on Sunday 27th September at Wembley Stadium (kick off 16:45) and White spoke about the next test:

 “A lot of their front-rowers are based in France and are seasoned professionals who have played a lot of international rugby together. So, it’s going to be a tough day at the office.”

 

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