Andrew Trimble capped 2014 by being voted the IRUPA Players Player of the Year and the Irish Rugby Writers Player of the Year.
The winger had started seven consecutive internationals but then suffered a toe injury in Ulster’s home victory over Glasgow last October and hasn’t played any rugby since.
In spite of his heroics in Ireland’s 2014 Six Nations win Trimble admitted he was nervous to see whether he would be included in the extended world cup squad.
“I was relieved to see my name in that squad,” admitted Trimble. “The standard is so high.
“There are eight wingers in the squad at the minute and you couldn’t look at any of them and say every single winger in that squad is quality and playing good rugby.
“They’re serious athletes and their skills are good so you’re looking at them going, where can I get the edge on some of these guys and you’re struggling to work it out.”
“There’s a lot of quality there, there’s a lot of quality in Irish rugby at the minute, it’s going in an unbelievably good direction at the minute and I want to be a part of that.”
“The standard has moved on in the last six or seven months and I haven’t been on the pitch so in some ways I’ve got to play catch-up and try to get in there and try to impress, I’ve to try to get a jersey on and try to impress.”
Trimble had to sit out Ireland winning back to back championship but no Ireland winger managed to score in the 2015 Six Nations.
“Gilly (Craig Gilroy) is scoring a lot tries here at Ulster, Tommy (Bowe) has scored a lot, the boys are all playing well for their provinces, scoring a lot of tries,” added Trimble.
In the Six Nations, apart from the wingers, Joe (Schmidt) talks about how we’re systems driven and that’s something that everybody takes into account.”
“Every little bit that you contribute towards a performance is really important, Joe more than most people, more than anybody I know, looks at the small little details and that wouldn’t be the stuff that maybe the commentators are picking up on.
“They’re maybe not getting the headlines in the Six Nations but Joe appreciates the small things and that’s something that I have to keep in mind.”
Ireland have four warm up games with the cut for the final world cup squad coming after the third and for Trimble who’s last appearance came in the summer tour of Argentina in 2014 they are vitally important.
“It’s a good squad of 45 at the minute so realistically you might get one game, maybe a 60 and a 20, I don’t know but hopefully I’ll get an opportunity, if I don’t get an opportunity I’ll feel disappointed.”
“If I do, it’s down to me and I’ll have to take that chance, I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be difficult I think, going from not playing any rugby and having to perform on my first time out on the pitch again is a big ask, but I’m up for it.”