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Ireland Newcomer McLaughlin Eager To Make ‘Step Up’

Ireland Newcomer McLaughlin Eager To Make ‘Step Up’

Ulster’s Claire McLaughlin could make her international debut on Saturday after being included on the bench for Ireland’s historic autumn international against England at the Twickenham Stoop (kick-off 3pm).

Claire McLaughlin has been involved in training squads before, including a camp based at Kingspan Stadium last month, but this is her first opportunity to don the green jersey.

“I was in the squad last year but got cut at an early stage, so I’m delighted to have made the panel of 23 for the England game,” enthused the Queen’s University centre. “It’s good to be part of such a professional set-up, which includes training, nutrition and recovery.”

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The 23-year-old says she is thriving in the high performance environment, adding: “It’s a huge step up. It’s really good coming into this and having that higher intensity and knowing that you have to give more.

“I’m the type of person that likes to give 100% in everything I do and you definitely have to do that when you’re training with an Ireland squad.”

While McLaughlin has forced her way into contention to earn her first Ireland cap, she is aware that there is still plenty in her game that she needs to develop.

“I’ve improved on a few things over the past six weeks since the initial training squad was announced, but there’s still a lot of improvements needed. I know that my passing needs to be a lot better and a lot sharper.

“I’d say that’s the main thing I have to work on. One-on-one tackling and decision making are also things that I’ll need to keep developing.”

The final year medical student was keen to praise Ulster coaches Philip Doyle and Jarrett Truscott for the support they have given her this season.

“The coaching at Ulster this season was second to none. It was really good having ‘Goose’ and Jarrett there and they really helped us to hone our skills, bringing our basics up to scratch. It probably didn’t show in the results we got (in the Interprovincial Championship), but we improved throughout the series. There’s potential for the future there,” she added.