Ulster's Timoney puts Irish coaches on notice for Six Nations squad with performance against Fiji

Ireland's Nick Timoney is pulled back by Fiji's Sam Matavesi (right) as he runs with the ball during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Picture date: Saturday November 12, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Paul McIntyre at the Aviva Stadium

Nick Timoney’s standing in Irish rugby continues to rise.

One of the most consistent performers in the Irish game, it’s hard to fathom that Saturday was only the flanker’s third Irish appearance but it presented him with an opportunity he was eager to make the most of.

He also bagged two-tries on his way to picking up the Player of the Match award, while serving notice to the coaches that he aims to be part of future squads.

“I thought it went reasonably well,” said Timoney on his first full 80-minute Irish appearance.

“Obviously getting two tries, I felt like I had a good few involvements, got my hands on the ball a good bit.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance as an individual or a team and there’s plenty to work on. But I guess for my first 80 minutes for Ireland, it was good to be involved throughout.”

Timoney has been a mainstay in the Ulster team over the last few seasons and he brought his all-action swashbuckling style of play to Dublin on Saturday.

“I'd like to think that's always how I play games. Had I not shown up today, who knows, it could have been my last time playing in green. I was given a huge opportunity and I certainly felt a huge onus on myself to make the most of it.

“It certainly didn't go terribly, there's areas to improve on, but I felt I was involved and I gave an account of myself.”

The challenge now for Timoney is to be a regular in the test team.

“I don’t want to be happy just coming and getting starts against the non-tier one nations. I want to be involved in the test team properly, and contributing in the big games.

“I would love to be part of that. I would hate the idea of ever being happy about playing just in three tests because there are knocks to others or whatever.

“I don’t know what will happen, there are world-class back-rowers ahead of me.”

The challenge now for the group is to keep improving. With one test match left before next year’s Six Nations, Timoney feels it’s important that the squad are moving in the right direction.

“One of the things we talked about this week was that every week we're together, we should be looking to improve our performances and if we're not, we're wasting time.”