Ireland’s Captain, Nichola Fryday, has announced her retirement from international rugby this morning, Friday, July 21.
“My time representing my country has been full of highs and lows personally and as a collective. If back in 2015 you had told me when I first picked up a rugby ball in Tullamore RFC I would one day represent my country 34 times and captain the team for two seasons I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Fryday in a statement posted on her Instagram.
The Irish Women's Rugby National Team has faced issues with devastating losses, including a disappointing last-place finish at the Six Nations in April, where the team lost every match.
The Six Nations performance was shortly followed by head coach, Greg McWilliams, making the decision to leave his coaching position.
The Irish Women's Rugby team also lacks a similar level of resources, facilities or funding that the men's team has.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 21, 2023
Fryday expressed her gratitude for her former teammates. ‘To every player I’ve been luckily enough to take the pitch with in the green jersey, thank you for always pushing for more on and off the pitch. Some of my closest and dearest friends have been made on the pitch, always picking each other up on the hard days when giving up seemed like the easier choice. You’ll always be people I call my family."
The Head of the Women's Performance and Pathways for Women's Rugby, Gillian McDarby, said, “Nichola has been an excellent leader and player for the Irish rugby team over the last number of years and we thank her for her incredible service to Irish rugby."
Fryday has played on the Women’s Rugby national team since 2016. She was appointed captain in 2022 after her predecessor, Ciara Griffin, retired in late 2021 after Ireland did not qualify for the Women’s World Cup.
Fryday is not retiring from Rugby as a whole, just international rugby and her time on the Women's National team. The 28-year old said “At some stage it comes to a natural end and that time is now for me as I look to develop my career off the pitch while continuing to play club rugby with Exeter.”