Nash relishing a title in his debut campaign but wants to repay Farrell’s faith by keeping it up

Calvin Nash celebrates after scoring Ireland’s sixth try
Ireland v Italy Calvin Nash celebrates after scoring Ireland’s sixth try in the win over Italy (Brian Lawless/PA)

In a squad full of experienced winners at this level, it must be daunting to come in as a starter, but that didn’t seem to faze Calvin Nash.

The Munster winger gave a sterling account of himself in this year’s Six Nations, filling in for the injured Mack Hansen and Jimmy O’Brien, who both were ruled out with injuries earlier in the year.

Nash won his first Six Nations at the first time of asking after Ireland defeated Scotland 17-13 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Some may think of this as a stroke of luck, winning such a tough competition at the first time of asking, but Nash is just relishing the victory.

“People are just saying keep enjoying it, obviously I am lucky [in winning the Six Nations at the first attempt] but I’m delighted, [it is] unbelievable,” said the Limerick man.

“It’s a bit surreal at the moment but [I] just tried to soak in the whole experience at the moment, even before the anthems, the crowd was electric so, I just tried to take it all in.

Nash played 57 minutes in the game before being replaced by Garry Ringrose, but in the game, he held his own, gaining 34 metres in seven runs.

Scotland put up a resilient defensive effort, with the scoreline kept to 7-6 for 25 minutes, and Ireland only getting their second try of the game through Andrew Porter 15 minutes before the end of the game.

Nash said: “Scotland are always physical and you know they were trying to win this Triple Crown themselves as well so they had a lot to play for, to maybe but a positive spin on a campaign that they might be frustrated with.

“We knew they would come out flying and they were tough and difficult to break down as well so we’re delighted to get the win.”

Before this tournament, Nash only made his debut in the World Cup warm-up victory against Italy, however, he featured in all five Six Nations games, during which he scored two tries.

Given the fast introduction Nash has had to the full Ireland set-up, he has managed to gel with the squad well and realises how much fun the squad is to be around.

“I don’t think you realise how much craic you have, just how good it is to be amongst all the lads,” said Nash, who at 26 years old still has a lot of years in the Ireland squad ahead of him.

“There’s such a great buzz and a great culture of moving forward all the time, like it’s always next job focus but like it’s unbelievable to play with a group like that.”

Usually, you’d think that a new member of the squad would get swallowed up in doing their job right and not enjoying the experience to the fullest extent, however these two things seem to go hand-in-hand for Andy Farrell’s Ireland, as Nash can attest to.

“I think previously in camps, my mind has been focused on every minor detail and that probably took away from me expressing myself on the field,” said the former U20 Irish captain.

“Faz [Farrell] always says that the quicker you can be yourself, the quicker you can start enjoying it as well so that’s what he drives most of the time.”

Many believe Andy Farrell’s Ireland are the world’s leading side
Calvin Nash says that Andy Farrell has helped him settle quickly into the Ireland squad (Brian Lawless/PA)

Farrell has created a positive culture around Ireland which seems to work in their favour as the success levels show.

Nash spoke about how shocked he was at Andy’s level of man-management skills and his outlook on things, which allows him to see “almost every scenario possible”.

“He always has a good answer or a good input, he’s been unbelievable for me this whole campaign, backed me throughout this whole thing and I just want to say thanks to him in that way [by] keeping it going and hopefully staying in camps.”

Nash seemed to find the adaptation from Munster to Ireland easier due to the similarity in playing styles, although he said there was more of a kicking game in the international set-up.

He returns to Munster now, where he will hopefully keep his good run of form going, with a view to keeping his hand in for the South Africa tour in June.