Despite making a strong impact on her Six Nations debut against Wales on Sunday, Ireland women’s second-row Judy Bobbett isn’t taking her place in the team for granted.
After sitting out the opening round tussle with Scotland, Bobbett played the full 80 minutes as Adam Griggs’ charges recorded a second consecutive home win in this year’s Championship.
“We go back into a training camp next week. The jersey is up again for grabs. Whoever performs again gets a jersey. No one in this team thinks they own a jersey, 1-15 and so on. We’ve a big panel for a reason. Different players and different dynamics work,” Bobbett explained.
“This week we did look at the Welsh pack and obviously I bring a bit more weight, a bit more physicality into the pack. That was kind of our main focus today, scrummaging. We worked very hard this week on it. Thankfully in terms of keeping the pressure off, it worked.”
The Meath native was picking up her second cap in an Irish shirt, having previously lined out against the Welsh in a November 2018 test. While her debut at the UCD Bowl offered up an initial taste of international rugby, she admits it paled in comparison to what she encountered last weekend.
“Familiar kind of setting, but every game is different. Every venue makes a difference and the Six Nations is such a big step from the Novembers. By the crowd and by the PR around it. My phone was buzzing all week, definitely 10 times more than it was in November.”
Still only 20 years of age, Leinster lock Bobbett is part of a new wave of young talent currently breaking into the Ireland senior set-up. Teenagers Beibhinn Parsons and Dorothy Wall have both featured in the opening two rounds of the Championship, while Victoria Dabanovich O’Mahony (19) and Enya Breen (20) are also part of the squad for the Six Nations.
Yet Bobbett insists the presence of experienced figures within the Irish camp helps to make it a smooth transition.
“We’re all kind of under 21, but we wouldn’t be learning a lot if it wasn’t for the senior players showing us the way. Aoife McDermott, Nichola Fryday, Ciara Cooney, all the second rows have shown me my trade and I can only thank them. It’s not easy for them if they’re competing against me. They’re doing a phenomenal job,” Bobbett added.