The Six Nations will be the start of a “new leaf for Irish rugby” according to Irish international player Stacey Flood.
Flood, who is named on the 38 player squad for the games said it will be a chance to get some good performances in from the players and a chance for the new team to “gel”.
“I think it’s all around exciting, new management, new players… change is good sometimes,” Flood told HerSport.ie
The 25-year-old made her debut to the XV’s team at the 2021 Six Nations, where she came on as a replacement against Wales. For Flood, coming into this tournament with experience under her belt makes it especially exciting.
“It’s definitely good to have experience and there’s plenty of girls now with it, there’s also young players coming in pushing so to have a good mix of that is really good for a team” she said.
ICYMI: The Ireland squad for the 2022 TikTok Women's Six Nations has been named! 👊
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) March 3, 2022
Flood came into rugby through the rugby sevens programme, after having previously played for Dublin GAA. She made her debut with the sevens for the U18 team back in 2014 and her senior debut one year later. Since then, the Dublin native has gone on to play on countless World Series Stages. Most recently she lined out with the team in Seville, where they placed second at the World Seven’s Series.
“Sevens at the minute is such a good place to be and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been there for seven years and I think this is the best we’ve ever been – culture wise, team wise, coaches, players, there’s a really good group there” said Flood.
The culture of rugby sevens is a place where people can come in and feel welcomed and valued, according to Flood, “It’s not about if you’re good at rugby or not it’s about the player first. We value each other so much as people and know each other so well”.
“That creates a good heart of the team. We’re all friends and we just get to travel the world and play rugby together…it’s just a great place to be everyday” she told HerSport.ie
💬 "You can't ask for anything better than that.."
— World Rugby Sevens (@WorldRugby7s) June 15, 2019
While the Six Nations will be Flood’s current focus, qualifying for the “pinnacle of sports”, the Olympics, is a goal on the list for the Seven’s players, who take their inspiration from the success of the women’s hockey team, according to Flood.
“What it’s done for the women’s hockey…what an achievement and they’re only going to push on from now. I’d say the numbers of people playing hockey have just increased so much from them. The amount of young girls looking up to them, that’s exactly what we want to achieve with rugby”.
“I think it’ll give sevens a name in Ireland that we don’t have yet…hopefully it will grow peoples knowledge of the game and how hard we work as a team,” she said.
For Flood, who has come through sports from underage, having female sporting idols is key and it's something she is endowing herself. Having just been named Energia’s newest sporting ambassador alongside Hugo Keenan, the Railway Union player is serving as one of the faces of women’s rugby.
Energia, who sponsored the women’s AIL final, are a company “committed to Irish rugby” according to Flood, who believes that the representation of both herself and Keenan on equal platforms is key.
“If you’re a young girl and you’re seeing a girl or woman on a poster, automatically that’s just in you. If it’s not visible to you, you’re not going to think it’s an option”.