5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
Andrew Trimble was only 17 when Ireland last toured New Zealand four years ago. Now a full-blown international, the Ulster youngster is eagerly anticipating a crack at the All Blacks.
It is hard not to relish a first cap against New Zealand, the world's top-ranked side, and Trimble is finding it hard to contain his excitement. The quietly-spoken back will run out at Waikato Stadium tomorrow for his seventh Test cap, in direct opposition to experienced Blues winger Doug Howlett.
He could have faced Howlett, the scorer of an incredible 41 tries in 50 Test matches, last November when Ireland were on the receiving end of a 45-7 defeat by New Zealand at Lansdowne Road. But it was a week later that Trimble made his international bow, impressing at centre against Australia.
Two tries neatly followed seven days later against Romania and the Theology student has since cemented his place in the Irish starting XV with a try-scoring cameo against France and starts against Wales, Scotland and France in the recent RBS 6 Nations.
He said: "I would have been surprised if I had have been picked (against New Zealand in the autumn). It probably wasn't the time to get the first cap against the All Blacks.
"But at the same time it would have been a great experience and it just makes me look forward to this one so much more.
"Playing against the All Blacks is something that everybody wants to do. There's no greater challenge than coming to New Zealand to play them on their own patch."
...Trimble - three tries in 6 Test appearances...
A Triple Crown and Celtic League winner in only his second season at senior level, Trimble is a contented player, whether on the wing or at centre, but admits that it was no so long ago that he was looking on from the terraces.
"As a young fella coming through, guys like Brian (O'Driscoll) and Paul (O'Connell), I would have gone to watch guys like them playing rugby when I was young, even four years ago," he told NZPA.
"It's an honour to be on the same pitch as these guys and with players like Brian and Paul, they just give your team such a lift because they're such characters and because of the experience that comes with them.
"They are stars but we are a team of 15 and we are a unit."
Trimble, the youngest member of the touring squad, is brimming with belief that Eddie O'Sullivan's charges can become the first Irish side to beat the All Blacks.
"We've achieved a lot this year, we just want to go one step further and do what no Irish side has done before so we're very excited about that," he admitted.
"We rate ourselves higher than a lot of people do and we want to prove that."