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Waiting Game Pays Off For Richardt Strauss

Waiting Game Pays Off For Richardt Strauss
By Cian Tracey Updated

Strauss crashes over for his first international try (c) Matt Browne

Hooker Richardt Strauss has had to bide his time before making his international bow for his adopted nation. Strauss first became involved with the Irish set up in run up to the infamously postponed game in Paris back in February. The softly spoken South African made his debut in the recent November Test against fittingly enough, his home country. Strauss' rendition of 'Amhrán na bhFiann' as well as his impressive performance on the pitch won many plaudits from the Irish public. He had become one of our own.

Strauss however is taking nothing for granted and is fully aware of what it means to play for Ireland. "I'm really really enjoying my time in the green shirt. I had to wait longer than most lads to make their international debut and I relish every opportunity I get." Although the fact that he has overtaken Limerick man Sean Cronin in the pecking order didn't sit easy with plenty of people, you cannot argue with how well Strauss has bought into the ethos of the Irish set up.

The Leinster player won his second cap on Saturday when Ireland beat Argentina 46-24 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. After the game, he was quick to emphasise the fact that the game plan in which they had worked so hard on during the week, had paid off. "I think we did pretty well in running hard at them to get the momentum going and get their defence turned. When you look at patches when we started throwing the ball around, they put us under pressure and their defence was pretty good. I think the lads did really well to put them under pressure and force them into making mistakes." The Ireland defence was quite impressive for the majority of the game until the latter stages when the took their eye off the ball and allowed the Pumas in for two soft tries that their performance scantily deserved.

Saturday also saw Strauss claim his first international try which again he modestly brushed aside and rather heaped the praise on those around him. "Well obviously I didn't have to do too much work, I can't take all the credit. The lads did pretty well to set up the maul and I was just lucky to be at the back of it." Asked about his instinctive eye for the try line, he again laughed it off. "I just saw their nine coming into the maul and obviously saw a bit of space and then hoped I could get there. I was lucky enough really."

The step up from Heineken Cup rugby with Leinster was, he admitted a massive step up. If he felt the pressure of it, he wasn't showing it here or on the pitch. "We've had a couple of big games with the province over the last season but it was always going to be a big step up. You get the best players from every country playing and it's been a great opportunity and experience for me to be part of." Strauss who was an integral part of Leinster's third Heineken Cup success in Twickenham last May knows that the hard work starts now if he is to continue with the Irish squad when their Six Nations campaign starts in February. But it is something that he is excited about "The Six Nations holds massive importance and has a good history and I'm very excited about the prospect of being involved in it. But there's a lot of hard work that has to go on for me to make that squad. Everybody is going to go back to their provinces now and perform to make it."

For now though, Strauss like his team mates is keen to build on this success and carry this momentum into the next year. "We said in the changing room after the game to make sure that this wasn't a one time performance. We have to keep on working and hopefully we can take that onto the next game."

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