NEC Harlequins winger David Strettle returned to the clubs training ground today after making his international debut against Ireland in the Six Nations Championship at Croke Park on Saturday (24th February). The 23 year-old played the entire match after receiving a late call-up to the side to replace the injured Jason Robinson on the right wing, and scored England's only try of the game in a heavy 43-13 defeat.
"I just saw the whole day as a one off," said Strettle. "Obviously it was a massive occasion but I felt comfortable playing there and it was pleasing to get on the score sheet. I got lots of advice from people and I just tried to keep my head down and play my natural game."
Strettle has gone from playing National Division One rugby for Rotherham last season to putting in a string of eye catching performances for Quins in the Guinness Premiership during the current campaign, and has seven league tries to his name.
He has also played for the England Sevens and the England Saxons teams this season, all of which culminated in England Head Coach Brian Ashton selecting Strettle for his first international cap at the weekend.
Reflecting on his meteoric rise, Strettle said: "I've come a long way in a short space of time but I don't want to compare the different experiences. All I can say is that at international level the speed and intensity of the game is even higher than the Premiership."
On his chances of being involved in the rest of the Six Nations Championship he said: "I'm just taking things as they happen at the moment. It was a dream come true and I enjoyed it but we'll just wait and see what happens from now on."
"Experiencing that atmosphere and playing for England has definitely helped me develop as a player though. However, it was frustrating to get beaten by such a margin on the day. We tried to play to our game plan - keeping the ball, putting some phases together and playing in the right areas of the field - but we just couldn't do it, especially in the first half and that cost us."
*NB - You can hear more from David Strettle in an exclusive interview on Sky Sports 'The Rugby Club' this Thursday (1st March).
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.