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Hickie Raring To Go

Hickie Raring To Go

Without a Test cap for 14 months, Leinster winger Denis Hickie is itching for some game-time on Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.

…Ireland winger Denis Hickie…

Leinster and Ireland winger Denis Hickie has admitted that the key to getting through a long season is “not thinking too far ahead.”

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The 30-year-old missed a good chunk of the current season due to dislocating his right fibula in training in October, but he has bounced back well to be named in the 30-man Irish squad for the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.

Scoring the most memorable try of the entire season – ‘that’ length-of-the-field effort in Leinster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Toulouse in April – certainly helped Hickie’s claims.

The last of the Dubliner’s 51 Test caps was all of 14 months ago against Wales in the Millennium Stadium.

Now fully fit and back in form, Hickie will be hoping to challenge for a starting berth with his Leinster colleague Shane Horgan and Ulster duo Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble – the trio shared out wing duties during Ireland’s recent RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Ahead of his first tour to New Zealand with an Irish squad, Hickie said: “It’s been a long season – they seem to be getting longer. They seem to be packing more games into the same amount of time, but the key is nobody really thinks too far ahead. You just think about the next block, the next three or four weeks, and that’s how everyone keeps themselves sane for these tours.

“Most guys are in pretty good shape. We’re not carrying any injuries and psychologically that’s a big advantage.

He told TV3: “It’s a long way away and it’s the end of a long season but that doesn’t worry us. There’s no burden playing for your country no matter where it is so everybody is looking forward to it.”

Hickie, who scored a try in the 40-29 defeat by the All Blacks in Dublin in 2001, reckons Ireland will not let their concentration levels slip Down Under.

He added: “It’s been a very big year for Irish rugby in general so it’s important that we continue to build on that. Everyone will admit that while the Celtic League and more so the Heineken Cup are really fantastic cup competitions – they are very different to international rugby.

“The fact that we have two Tests against New Zealand, the best international rugby team in the world, really focuses the mind.”

On the subject of last year’s Lions tour to New Zealand, Hickie, who was a member of the infamous ‘Midweek Massive’, insisted: “Not having toured New Zealand with Ireland before, it will be interesting to see what the level of intensity will be like.

“There was so much hype surrounding the Lions tour – it’s very much a unique occasion for the Lions, with it happening every four years, and also the country that hosts it.

“New Zealand had such a love affair with the Lions tour – they really built themselves up for it and that manifested itself in a few ways. There was a huge amount of hype, a lot of press attention from both sides and a few personality clashes with members of our touring party.

“I’m not sure if that will surround an Irish tour,” said Hickie, who is two tries behind current captain Brian O’Driscoll (27) on the all-time try-scoring list.

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